Articles by Annekathrin Widmann in JoVE
Appetitive Associative Olfactory Learning in Drosophila Larvae Anthi A. Apostolopoulou1, Annekathrin Widmann1, Astrid Rohwedder1,2, Johanna E. Pfitzenmaier1, Andreas S. Thum1,2 1Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, 2Department of Biology, University of Fribourg 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.
Other articles by Annekathrin Widmann on PubMed
Nutritional Value-dependent and Nutritional Value-independent Effects on Drosophila Melanogaster Larval Behavior Chemical Senses. Oct, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22695795 Gustatory stimuli allow an organism not only to orient in its environment toward energy-rich food sources to maintain nutrition but also to avoid unpleasant or even poisonous substrates. For both mammals and insects, sugars-perceived as "sweet"-potentially predict nutritional benefit. Interestingly, even Drosophila adult flies are attracted to most high-potency sweeteners preferred by humans. However, the gustatory information of a sugar may be misleading as some sugars, although perceived as "sweet," cannot be metabolized. Accordingly, in adult Drosophila, a postingestive system that additionally evaluates the nutritional benefit of an ingested sugar has been shown to exist. By using a set of seven different sugars, which either offer (fructose, sucrose, glucose, maltodextrin, and sorbitol) or lack (xylose and arabinose) nutritional benefit, we show that Drosophila, at the larval stage, can perceive and evaluate sugars based on both nutrition-dependent and -independent qualities. In detail, we find that larval survival and feeding mainly depend on the nutritional value of a particular sugar. In contrast, larval choice behavior and learning are regulated in a more complex way by nutrition value-dependent and nutrition value-independent information. The simplicity of the larval neuronal circuits and their accessibility to genetic manipulation may ultimately allow one to identify the neuronal and molecular basis of the larval sugar perception systems described here behaviorally.
The Serotonergic Central Nervous System of the Drosophila Larva: Anatomy and Behavioral Function PloS One. 2012 | Pubmed ID: 23082175 The Drosophila larva has turned into a particularly simple model system for studying the neuronal basis of innate behaviors and higher brain functions. Neuronal networks involved in olfaction, gustation, vision and learning and memory have been described during the last decade, often up to the single-cell level. Thus, most of these sensory networks are substantially defined, from the sensory level up to third-order neurons. This is especially true for the olfactory system of the larva. Given the wealth of genetic tools in Drosophila it is now possible to address the question how modulatory systems interfere with sensory systems and affect learning and memory. Here we focus on the serotonergic system that was shown to be involved in mammalian and insect sensory perception as well as learning and memory. Larval studies suggested that the serotonergic system is involved in the modulation of olfaction, feeding, vision and heart rate regulation. In a dual anatomical and behavioral approach we describe the basic anatomy of the larval serotonergic system, down to the single-cell level. In parallel, by expressing apoptosis-inducing genes during embryonic and larval development, we ablate most of the serotonergic neurons within the larval central nervous system. When testing these animals for naÃ¯ve odor, sugar, salt and light perception, no profound phenotype was detectable; even appetitive and aversive learning was normal. Our results provide the first comprehensive description of the neuronal network of the larval serotonergic system. Moreover, they suggest that serotonin per se is not necessary for any of the behaviors tested. However, our data do not exclude that this system may modulate or fine-tune a wide set of behaviors, similar to its reported function in other insect species or in mammals. Based on our observations and the availability of a wide variety of genetic tools, this issue can now be addressed.