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In JoVE (1)
Other Publications (4)
Articles by Jaime Becnel in JoVE
Methods to Assay Drosophila Behavior
Charles D. Nichols1, Jaime Becnel1, Udai B. Pandey2
1Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 2Department of Genetics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Drosophila melanogaster is a genetically and behaviorally tractable model system that has been used to understand the molecular and cellular basis of many important biological processes for over a century 1. Drosophila has been well exploited to gain insights into the genetic basis of fly behavior.
Other articles by Jaime Becnel on PubMed
Developmental Expression Patterns of Arabidopsis XTH Genes Reported by Transgenes and Genevestigator
Plant Molecular Biology. Jun, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16830179
The plant cell wall is the structural basis of cellular form and thus forms a foundation on which morphogenesis builds organs and tissues. Enzymes capable of modifying major wall components are prominent candidates for regulating wall form and function. Xyloglucan endotransglucosylases/hydrolases (XTHs) are predicted to participate in xyloglucan integration and/or restructuring. XTHs are encoded by large gene families in plants; the Arabidopsis genome encodes 33 XTHs. To gain insight into the potential physiological relevance of the distinct members of this family, GUS reporter fusion genes were constructed, and plants expressing these transgenes were characterized to reveal spatial and temporal patterns of expression. In addition, Genevestigator sources were mined for comprehensive and comparative XTH expression regulation analysis. These data reveal that the Arabidopsis XTHs are likely expressed in every developmental stage from seed germination through flowering. All organs show XTH::GUS expression and most, if not all, are found to express multiple XTH::GUS genes. These data suggest that XTHs may contribute to morphogenesis at every developmental stage and in every plant organ. Different XTHs have remarkably diverse and distinct expression patterns indicating that paralogous genes have evolved differential expression regulation perhaps contributing to the maintenance of the large gene family. Extensive overlap in XTH expression patterns is evident; thus, XTHs may act combinatorially in determining wall properties of specific tissues or organs. Knowledge of gene-specific expression among family members yields evidence of where and when gene products may function and provides insights to guide rational approaches to investigate function through reverse genetics.
Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine(2A) Receptor Activation Suppresses Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha-induced Inflammation with Extraordinary Potency
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18708586
The G protein-coupled serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)(2A) receptor is primarily recognized for its role in brain neurotransmission, where it mediates a wide variety of functions, including certain aspects of cognition. However, there is significant expression of this receptor in peripheral tissues, where its importance is largely unknown. We have now discovered that activation of 5-HT(2A) receptors in primary aortic smooth muscle cells provides a previously unknown and extremely potent inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-mediated inflammation. 5-HT(2A) receptor stimulation with the agonist (R)-1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl)-2-aminopropane [(R)-DOI] rapidly inhibits a variety of TNF-alpha-mediated proinflammatory markers, including intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), vascular adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), and interleukin (IL)-6 gene expression, nitric-oxide synthase activity, and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappaB, with IC(50) values of only 10 to 20 pM. It is significant that proinflammatory markers can also be inhibited by (R)-DOI hours after treatment with TNF-alpha. With the exception of a few natural toxins, no current drugs or small molecule therapeutics demonstrate a comparable potency for any physiological effect. TNF-alpha-mediated inflammatory pathways have been strongly implicated in a number of diseases, including atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, type II diabetes, depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. Our results indicate that activation of 5-HT(2A) receptors represents a novel, and extraordinarily potent, potential therapeutic avenue for the treatment of disorders involving TNF-alpha-mediated inflammation. Note that because (R)-DOI can significantly inhibit the effects of TNF-alpha many hours after the administration of TNF-alpha, potential therapies could be aimed not only at preventing inflammation but also treating inflammatory injury that has already occurred or is ongoing.
The Serotonin 5-HT7Dro Receptor is Expressed in the Brain of Drosophila, and is Essential for Normal Courtship and Mating
PloS One. 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21674056
The 5-HT(7) receptor remains one of the less well characterized serotonin receptors. Although it has been demonstrated to be involved in the regulation of mood, sleep, and circadian rhythms, as well as relaxation of vascular smooth muscles in mammals, the precise mechanisms underlying these functions remain largely unknown. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is an attractive model organism to study neuropharmacological, molecular, and behavioral processes that are largely conserved with mammals. Drosophila express a homolog of the mammalian 5-HT(7) receptor, as well as homologs for the mammalian 5-HT(1A), and 5-HT(2), receptors. Each fly receptor couples to the same effector pathway as their mammalian counterpart and have been demonstrated to mediate similar behavioral responses. Here, we report on the expression and function of the 5-HT(7)Dro receptor in Drosophila. In the larval central nervous system, expression is detected postsynaptically in discreet cells and neuronal circuits. In the adult brain there is strong expression in all large-field R neurons that innervate the ellipsoid body, as well as in a small group of cells that cluster with the PDF-positive LNvs neurons that mediate circadian activity. Following both pharmacological and genetic approaches, we have found that 5-HT(7)Dro activity is essential for normal courtship and mating behaviors in the fly, where it appears to mediate levels of interest in both males and females. This is the first reported evidence of direct involvement of a particular serotonin receptor subtype in courtship and mating in the fly.
Insulin-producing Cells in the Brain of Adult Drosophila Are Regulated by the Serotonin 5-HT1A Receptor
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences : CMLS. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 21818550
Insulin signaling regulates lifespan, reproduction, metabolic homeostasis, and resistance to stress in the adult organism. In Drosophila, there are seven insulin-like peptides (DILP1-7). Three of these (DILP2, 3 and 5) are produced in median neurosecretory cells of the brain, designated IPCs. Previous work has suggested that production or release of DILPs in IPCs can be regulated by a factor secreted from the fat body as well as by neuronal GABA or short neuropeptide F. There is also evidence that serotonergic neurons may regulate IPCs. Here, we investigated mechanisms by which serotonin may regulate the IPCs. We show that the IPCs in adult flies express the 5-HT(1A), but not the 5-HT(1B) or 5-HT(7) receptors, and that processes of serotonergic neurons impinge on the IPC branches. Knockdown of 5-HT(1A) in IPCs by targeted RNA interference (RNAi) leads to increased sensitivity to heat, prolonged recovery after cold knockdown and decreased resistance to starvation. Lipid metabolism is also affected, but no effect on growth was seen. Furthermore, we show that DILP2-immunolevels in IPCs increase after 5-HT(1A) knockdown; this is accentuated by starvation. Heterozygous 5-HT(1A) mutant flies display the same phenotype in all assays, as seen after targeted 5-HT(1A) RNAi, and flies fed the 5-HT(1A) antagonist WAY100635 display reduced lifespan at starvation. Our findings suggest that serotonin acts on brain IPCs via the 5-HT(1A) receptor, thereby affecting their activity and probably insulin signaling. Thus, we have identified a second inhibitory pathway regulating IPC activity in the Drosophila brain.