Document Detail

Optogenetics in the teaching laboratory: using channelrhodopsin-2 to study the neural basis of behavior and synaptic physiology in Drosophila.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21386006     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Here we incorporate recent advances in Drosophila neurogenetics and "optogenetics" into neuroscience laboratory exercises. We used the light-activated ion channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) and tissue-specific genetic expression techniques to study the neural basis of behavior in Drosophila larvae. We designed and implemented exercises using inexpensive, easy-to-use systems for delivering blue light pulses with fine temporal control. Students first examined the behavioral effects of activating glutamatergic neurons in Drosophila larvae and then recorded excitatory junctional potentials (EJPs) mediated by ChR2 activation at the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Comparison of electrically and light-evoked EJPs demonstrates that the amplitudes and time courses of light-evoked EJPs are not significantly different from those generated by electrical nerve stimulation. These exercises introduce students to new genetic technology for remotely manipulating neural activity, and they simplify the process of recording EJPs at the Drosophila larval NMJ. Relatively little research work has been done using ChR2 in Drosophila, so students have opportunities to test novel hypotheses and make tangible contributions to the scientific record. Qualitative and quantitative assessment of student experiences suggest that these exercises help convey principles of synaptic transmission while also promoting integrative and inquiry-based studies of genetics, cellular physiology, and animal behavior.
Stefan R Pulver; Nicholas J Hornstein; Bruce L Land; Bruce R Johnson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Advances in physiology education     Volume:  35     ISSN:  1522-1229     ISO Abbreviation:  Adv Physiol Educ     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-09     Completed Date:  2011-06-27     Revised Date:  2014-09-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100913944     Medline TA:  Adv Physiol Educ     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  82-91     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal / physiology*
Drosophila / genetics,  physiology*
Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
Rhodopsin / physiology*
Vision, Ocular / physiology*
Grant Support
R01 MH067284/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; R01 MH067284-07/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; R01 MH067284-08/MH/NIMH NIH HHS; R01-MH-067284/MH/NIMH NIH HHS
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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