Measuring Crop Motility and Food Passaging in Drosophila

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Most animals use the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to digest food. The movement of the ingested food in the GI tract is essential for nutrient absorption. Disordered GI motility and gastric emptying cause multiple diseases and symptoms. As a powerful genetic model organism, Drosophila can be used in GI motility research. The Drosophila crop is an organ that contracts and moves food into the midgut for further digestion, functionally similar to a mammalian stomach. Presented is a protocol to study Drosophila crop motility using simple measurement tools. A method for counting crop contractions to evaluate crop motility and a method for detecting the distribution of food dyed blue between the crop and gut using a spectrophotometer to investigate the effect of the crop on food passaging is described. The method was used to detect the difference in crop motility between control and nprl2 mutant flies. This protocol is both cost-efficient and highly sensitive to crop motility.