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Articles by Marcus J. Allen in JoVE
Elektrofysiologische opnames van de Giant Fiber Pathway van D. melanogaster
Hrvoje Augustin1, Marcus J. Allen2, Linda Partridge1
1Institute of Healthy Ageing, and GEE, University College London - UCL, 2School of Biosciences, University of Kent
De Giant Fiber System is een eenvoudige neuronale circuit van de volwassen
Other articles by Marcus J. Allen on PubMed
Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000). Sep-Oct, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12324967
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Feb, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14960613
The subunit composition of postsynaptic neurotransmitter receptors is a key determinant of synaptic physiology. Two glutamate receptor subunits, Drosophila glutamate receptor IIA (DGluRIIA) and DGluRIIB, are expressed at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction and are redundant for viability, yet differ in their physiological properties. We now identify a third glutamate receptor subunit at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction, DGluRIII, which is essential for viability. DGluRIII is required for the synaptic localization of DGluRIIA and DGluRIIB and for synaptic transmission. Either DGluRIIA or DGluRIIB, but not both, is required for the synaptic localization of DGluRIII. DGluRIIA and DGluRIIB compete with each other for access to DGluRIII and subsequent localization to the synapse. These results are consistent with a model of a multimeric receptor in which DGluRIII is an essential component. At single postsynaptic cells that receive innervation from multiple motoneurons, DGluRIII is abundant at all synapses. However, DGluRIIA and DGluRIIB are differentially localized at the postsynaptic density opposite distinct motoneurons. Hence, innervating motoneurons may regulate the subunit composition of their receptor fields within a shared postsynaptic cell. The capacity of presynaptic inputs to shape the subunit composition of postsynaptic receptors could be an important mechanism for synapse-specific regulation of synaptic function and plasticity.
Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. Feb, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16378740
Flies escape danger by jumping into the air and flying away. The giant fibre system (GFS) is the neural circuit that mediates this simple behavioural response to visual stimuli. The sensory signal is received by the giant fibre and relayed to the leg and wing muscle motorneurons. Many of the neurons in the Drosophila GFS are uniquely identifiable and amenable to cell biological, electrophysiological and genetic studies. Here we review the anatomy and development of this system and highlight its utility for studying many aspects of nervous system biology ranging from neural development and synaptic plasticity to the aetiology of neural disorder.
The Chemical Component of the Mixed GF-TTMn Synapse in Drosophila Melanogaster Uses Acetylcholine As Its Neurotransmitter
The European Journal of Neuroscience. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17650116
The largest central synapse in adult Drosophila is a mixed electro-chemical synapse whose gap junctions require the product of the shaking-B (shak-B) gene. Shak-B(2) mutant flies lack gap junctions at this synapse, which is between the giant fibre (GF) and the tergotrochanteral motor neuron (TTMn), but it still exhibits a long latency response upon GF stimulation. We have targeted the expression of the light chain of tetanus toxin to the GF, to block chemical transmission, in shak-B(2) flies. The long latency response in the tergotrochanteral muscle (TTM) was abolished indicating that the chemical component of the synapse mediates this response. Attenuation of GAL4-mediated labelling by a cha-GAL80 transgene, reveals the GF to be cholinergic. We have used a temperature-sensitive allele of the choline acetyltransferase gene (cha(ts2)) to block cholinergic synapses in adult flies and this also abolished the long latency response in shak-B(2) flies. Taken together the data provide evidence that both components of this mixed synapse are functional and that the chemical neurotransmitter between the GF and the TTMn is acetylcholine. Our findings show that the two components of this synapse can be separated to allow further studies into the mechanisms by which mixed synapses are built and function.
Fly. Nov-Dec, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18820432
Diapause is a dormant state that insects may undergo as a response to changing environmental conditions. In flies, like many insects inhabiting temperate zones, diapause occurs generally during the winter months when ambient temperatures are cool and food sources scarce. Whilst the environmental factors involved in determining diapause have been known for a long time, the genes and molecular events controling its initiation are poorly understood. Here I outline the factors that initiate diapause and highlight recent studies that implicate insulin signaling in its control.
Molecular Mechanism of Rectification at Identified Electrical Synapses in the Drosophila Giant Fiber System
Current Biology : CB. Dec, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19084406
Electrical synapses are neuronal gap junctions that mediate fast transmission in many neural circuits. The structural proteins of gap junctions are the products of two multigene families. Connexins are unique to chordates; innexins/pannexins encode gap-junction proteins in prechordates and chordates. A concentric array of six protein subunits constitutes a hemichannel; electrical synapses result from the docking of hemichannels in pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Some electrical synapses are bidirectional; others are rectifying junctions that preferentially transmit depolarizing current anterogradely. The phenomenon of rectification was first described five decades ago, but the molecular mechanism has not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that putative rectifying electrical synapses in the Drosophila Giant Fiber System are assembled from two products of the innexin gene shaking-B. Shaking-B(Neural+16) is required presynaptically in the Giant Fiber to couple this cell to its postsynaptic targets that express Shaking-B(Lethal). When expressed in vitro in neighboring cells, Shaking-B(Neural+16) and Shaking-B(Lethal) form heterotypic channels that are asymmetrically gated by voltage and exhibit classical rectification. These data provide the most definitive evidence to date that rectification is achieved by differential regulation of the pre- and postsynaptic elements of structurally asymmetric junctions.
A Modifier Screen in the Drosophila Eye Reveals That APKC Interacts with Glued During Central Synapse Formation
BMC Genetics. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19948010
The Glued gene of Drosophila melanogaster encodes the homologue of the vertebrate p150Glued subunit of dynactin. The Glued1 mutation compromises the dynein-dynactin retrograde motor complex and causes disruptions to the adult eye and the CNS, including sensory neurons and the formation of the giant fiber system neural circuit.
Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. Aug, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20647357
INTRODUCTION: The giant fiber system (GFS) of Drosophila is a well-characterized neuronal circuit that mediates the escape response in the fly. It is one of the few adult neural circuits from which electrophysiological recordings can be made routinely. This protocol describes a simple procedure for stimulating the giant fiber neurons directly in the brain of the adult fly and obtaining recordings from the output muscles of the GFS: the tergotrochanteral "jump" muscle (TTM) and the large indirect flight muscles (dorsal longitudinal muscles, or DLMs). It is a relatively noninvasive method that allows the investigator to stimulate the giant fibers in the brain and assay the function of several central synapses within this neural circuit by recording from the thoracic musculature.
Inhibition of GSK-3 Ameliorates Abeta Pathology in an Adult-onset Drosophila Model of Alzheimer's Disease
PLoS Genetics. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20824130
Abeta peptide accumulation is thought to be the primary event in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), with downstream neurotoxic effects including the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is increasingly implicated as playing a pivotal role in this amyloid cascade. We have developed an adult-onset Drosophila model of AD, using an inducible gene expression system to express Arctic mutant Abeta42 specifically in adult neurons, to avoid developmental effects. Abeta42 accumulated with age in these flies and they displayed increased mortality together with progressive neuronal dysfunction, but in the apparent absence of neuronal loss. This fly model can thus be used to examine the role of events during adulthood and early AD aetiology. Expression of Abeta42 in adult neurons increased GSK-3 activity, and inhibition of GSK-3 (either genetically or pharmacologically by lithium treatment) rescued Abeta42 toxicity. Abeta42 pathogenesis was also reduced by removal of endogenous fly tau; but, within the limits of detection of available methods, tau phosphorylation did not appear to be altered in flies expressing Abeta42. The GSK-3-mediated effects on Abeta42 toxicity appear to be at least in part mediated by tau-independent mechanisms, because the protective effect of lithium alone was greater than that of the removal of tau alone. Finally, Abeta42 levels were reduced upon GSK-3 inhibition, pointing to a direct role of GSK-3 in the regulation of Abeta42 peptide level, in the absence of APP processing. Our study points to the need both to identify the mechanisms by which GSK-3 modulates Abeta42 levels in the fly and to determine if similar mechanisms are present in mammals, and it supports the potential therapeutic use of GSK-3 inhibitors in AD.