The Giant Fiber System is a simple neuronal circuit of adult Drosophila melanogaster containing the largest neurons in the fly. We describe the protocol for monitoring synaptic transmission through this pathway by recording post synaptic potentials in dorsal longitudinal (DLM) and tergotrochanteral (TTM) muscles following direct stimulation of the Giant Fiber interneurons.
Drosophila hemocytes disperse over the entirety of the developing embryo. This protocol demonstrates how to mount and image these migrations using embryos with fluorescently labelled hemocytes.
We present various ways to monitor heart function in the larva of Drosophila for assessing questions dealing with the function of gap junctions, ion channel mutations, modulation of pacemaker activity and pharmacological studies.
Morphological Analysis of Drosophila Larval Peripheral Sensory Neuron Dendrites and Axons Using Genetic Mosaics
The dendritic arborization sensory neurons of the Drosophila larval peripheral nervous system are useful models to elucidate both general and neuron class-specific mechanisms of neuron differentiation. We present a practical guide to generate and analyze dendritic arborization neuron genetic mosaics.
Here we describe a basic protocol for fluorescent labeling of different elements of heart tubes from larva and adult Drosophila melanogaster. These specimens are well-suited for imaging via fluorescent or confocal microscopy. This technique permits detailed structural analysis of the features of the hearts from a powerful model organism.
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.
The Drosophila retina is a crystal-like lattice composed of a small number of cell types that are generated in a stereotyped manner 1. Its amenability to sophisticated genetic analysis allows the study of complex developmental programs. This protocol describes dissections and immunohistochemistry of retinas at three discrete developmental stages, with a focus on photoreceptor differentiation.
Electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila embryos allow analyses of developing muscle and neuron electrical properties, as well as characterization of functional synaptogenesis at the glutamatergic neuromuscular junction and central cholinergic and GABAergic synapses.
This technique exposes the Drosophila embryonic neuromusculature for immunohistochemistry or electrophysiological recording. It is useful for studying early events in neuromuscular development or performing electrophysiology in mutants that cannot hatch.
How niches and stem cells form during development is an important question with practical implications. In the Drosophila ovary, germ line stem cells and their somatic niches form during larval development. This video demonstrates how to dissect, stain and mount female gonads from late third instar (LL3) Drosophila larvae.
Identification of mechanisms underlying muscle damage is crucial. Here we present the histological technique for preparing paraffin-embedded and frozen sections of Drosophila thoracic muscles. This allows analysis of muscle morphology and localization of protein and other muscle cell components.
The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of Drosophila melanogaster is an important model system for studying normal synaptic function as well as perturbations to synaptic function found in certain neurological diseases. We present a protocol for dissection of the Drosophila larval motor system and immunostaining for active zone proteins within the NMJ.
A simple microfluidic device has been developed to perform anesthetic free in vivo imaging of C. elegans, intact Drosophila larvae and zebrafish larvae. The device utilizes a deformable PDMS membrane to immobilize these model organisms in order to perform time lapse imaging of numerous processes such as heart beat, cell division and sub-cellular neuronal transport. We demonstrate the use of this device and show examples of different types of data collected from different model systems.
Behavior assays for measuring locomotor functions, learning, and memory abilities in Drosophila.
Here we describe a light-dark preference test for Drosophila larva. This assay provides information about innate and circadian regulation of light sensing and processing photobehavior.
Drosophila larvae are able to associate odor stimuli with gustatory reward. Here we describe a simple behavioral paradigm that allows the analysis of appetitive associative olfactory learning.
Assessing Neurodegenerative Phenotypes in Drosophila Dopaminergic Neurons by Climbing Assays and Whole Brain Immunostaining
Here we describe two assays that have been established to study age-dependent neurodegeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Drosophila: the climbing/startle-induced negative geotaxis assay which allows to study the functional effects of DA neurons degeneration and the tyrosine hydroxylase immunostaining which is used to identify and count DA neurons in whole brain mounts.
To understand a link between the immune response and behavior, we describe a method to measure locomotor behavior in Drosophila during bacterial infection as well as the ability of flies to mount an immune response by monitoring survival, bacterial load, and real-time activity of a key regulator of innate immunity, NFκB.
We describe a Flippase-induced intersectional Gal80/Gal4 repression (FINGR) method, allowing tissue-specific FLP to determine Gal80 expression patterns. Wherever Gal4 and FLP overlap, Gal4 expression is turned on (Gal80 flipped out) or off (Gal80 flipped in). The FINGR method is versatile for clonal analysis and neural circuit mapping.
This is a protocol to isolate active full length Kinesin from Drosophila embryos for single-molecule biophysical studies. We show how to collect embryos, make the embryo lysate, and then polymerize microtubules (MTs). Kinesin is purified by immobilizing it on the MTs, spinning down the Kinesin-MT complexes, and then releasing the kinesin from the MTs via ATP addition.
A standard approach to prepare adult Drosophila eyes for semi-thin sectioning and light microscopic analysis is presented here. The protocol can be used for gross morphological analysis of eye defects, or with the indicated adjustments can be used to determine genetic requirements of genes in specific cell types of the eye (e.g. clonal analysis of photoreceptors) or for electron microscopic analysis.
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2Scholars Academy/MARC Scholar, University of Houston-Downtown, 3Genes and Development Graduate Program, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, 4Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
In this article, we demonstrate assays to study thermal nociception in Drosophila larvae. One assay involves spatially-restricted (local) stimulation of thermal nociceptors1,2 while the second involves a wholesale (global) activation of most or all such neurons3. Together, these techniques allow visualization and quantification of the behavioral functions of Drosophila nociceptive sensory neurons.
Measuring the yaw torque of tethered Drosophila with the torque meter allows the neuroscientist exquisite control of the stimulus situation of the experimental animal. Together with the unique genetic tools available in the fruit fly, this paradigm is used for a wide variety of neurobiological research.
In situ patch clamp recordings are used for electrophysiological characterization of neurons in intact circuitry. In the Drosophila genetic model patch clamping is difficult because the CNS is small and surrounded by a robust sheath. This article describes the procedure to remove the sheath and clean neurons for subsequent patch clamp recordings.
Live Cell Cycle Analysis of Drosophila Tissues using the Attune Acoustic Focusing Cytometer and Vybrant DyeCycle Violet DNA Stain
A protocol for cell cycle analysis of live Drosophila tissues using the Attune Acoustic Focusing Cytometer is described. This protocol simultaneously provides information about relative cell size, cell number, DNA content and cell type via lineage tracing or tissue specific expression of fluorescent proteins in vivo.
Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful model organism for exploring the molecular basis of longevity regulation. This protocol will discuss the steps involved in generating a reproducible, population-based measurement of longevity as well as potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Live Dissection of Drosophila Embryos: Streamlined Methods for Screening Mutant Collections by Antibody Staining
We describe a streamlined protocol for generating "fillet" preparations of Drosophila embryos of specific genotypes. This protocol allows efficient execution of a variety of genetic screens. It also allows excellent visualization of structures in the late embryo.
Here we present a mounting protocol for stained Drosophila embryos in an upright position that allows imaging of cross-sections using Confocal microscopy.
This protocol describes three Drosophila preparations: 1) adult brain dissection, 2) adult retina dissection and 3) developing eye disc- brain complexes dissection. Emphasis is laid on special preparation techniques and conditions for live imaging, although all preparations can be used for fixed tissue immunohistochemistry.
Paired Nanoinjection and Electrophysiology Assay to Screen for Bioactivity of Compounds using the Drosophila melanogaster Giant Fiber System
A rapid in vivo assay to test for neuromodulatory compounds using the Giant Fiber System (GFS) of Drosophila melanogaster is described. Nanoinjections in the head of the animal along with electrophysiological recordings of the GFS can reveal bioactivity of compounds on neurons or muscles.
A method to immunostain and visualize chordotonal organs in larvae and pupae of Drosophila melanogaster is described.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from the brains of late stage Drosophila pupae. Views of live cultures show neurite outgrowth and imaging of calcium levels using Fura-2.
In insects, the oenocytes produce cuticular hydrocarbon compounds. These compounds protect against desiccation and facilitate chemical communication. Here we demonstrate a dissection technique used to isolate the oenocytes from adult Drosophila melanogaster, and illustrate how this preparation can be utilized to study genes involved in hydrocarbon synthesis.
In this video, we describe a method for live cell imaging of asymmetrically dividing sensory organ progenitor cells and epidermal cells in intact Drosophila pupae
An in vivo dissection of the adult Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC) is demonstrated. This particular dissection method causes little damage to the VNC allowing the subsequent labeling of the giant fiber neurons with fluorescent dye for high resolution imaging.
Simultaneous Recording of Calcium Signals from Identified Neurons and Feeding Behavior of Drosophila melanogaster
The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, extends its proboscis for feeding, responding to a sugar stimulus from its proboscis or tarsus. I have combined observations of the proboscis extension response (PER) with a calcium imaging technique, allowing us to monitor the activity of neurons in the brain, simultaneously with behavioral observation.
Genetically encoded optogenetic tools enable noninvasive manipulation of specific neurons in the Drosophila brain. Such tools can identify neurons whose activation is sufficient to elicit or suppress particular behaviors. Here we present a method for activating Channelrhodopsin2 that is expressed in targeted neurons in freely walking flies.
Parasitoid (parasitic) wasps constitute a major class of natural enemies of many insects including Drosophila melanogaster. We will introduce the techniques to propagate these parasites in Drosophila spp. and demonstrate how to analyze their effects on immune tissues of Drosophila larvae.
An injury paradigm using the Drosophila larval ventral nerve cord to investigate central nervous system regeneration and repair is described. Stabbing followed by laser scanning confocal microscopy in time-lapse and fixed specimens, combined with quantitative analysis with purposefully developed software and genetics, are used to investigate the molecular mechanisms of CNS regeneration and repair.
We describe a method to separate organelles by density in living Drosophila embryos. Embryos are embedded in agar and centrifuged. This technique yields reproducible separation of major organelles along the anterior-posterior embryo axis. This method facilitates colocalization experiments and yields organelle fractions for biochemical analysis and transplantation experiments.
1Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers University, 2Current Address: Department of Entomology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, 3Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers University
We describe procedures for recording daily locomotor activity rhythms of Drosophila and subsequent data analysis. Locomotor activity rhythms are a reliable behavioral output of animal circadian clocks and are used as the standard readout of clock function when studying circadian mutants or examining how the environment regulates the circadian system.
Here we describe a whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol for determining the expression and localization properties of RNAs expressed during embryogenesis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
This protocol describes the use of microinjection and high resolution imaging in the Drosophila melanogaster syncytial embryo to study mitosis.
A protocol for live imaging of GFP-tagged proteins or autofluorescent structures in individual Drosophila oocytes is described.
A simple, inexpensive, and effective method of preparing Drosophila embryos for live-imaging analysis is presented. Our protocol provides humidity and gas exchange and does not compress the Drosophila embryo. This method is suitable for GFP-based live imaging of Drosophila embryos using a stereomicroscope or upright compound microscope.
Using high frequency electrical stimulation, seizure-like activity can be induced in Drosophila. This activity is easily recorded from the giant fiber system.
This protocol demonstrates how to perform immunohistochemistry on dissected Drosophila larva.
This video demonstrates the preparation of primary neuronal cultures from midgastrula stage Drosophila embryos. Views of live cultures show cells 1 hour after plating and differentiated neurons after 2 days of growth in a bicarbonate-based defined medium. The neurons are electrically excitable and form synaptic connections.
Drosophila Schneider (S2) cells are an increasingly popular system for the discovery and functional analysis of genes. Our goal is to describe some of the microscopic techniques that make S2 cells such an increasingly important experimental system.