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Fluorescence Microscopy Journal Club

Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain

by Dominic D. Frank, Genevieve C. Jouandet, Patrick J. Kearney, Lindsey J. Macpherson & Marco Gallio

Nature 2015, 519, pp. 358-361

Drosophila has been used as an animal model for well over 100 years, and still remains a popular model, especially given full sequencing of the genome of several species, and a rapid reproductive cycle which facilitates genetic engineering. In addition to being a popular model for developmental biology, Drosophila is also a useful model for studying neural circuits in vivo, providing a simpler nervous system than mammalian models while still exhibiting behavior that can be conditioned.

In “Temperature representation in the Drosophila brain” from Dr. Marco Gallio’s lab at Northwestern University, the group uses two-photon guided conversion of photoactivatable GFP to track the projections of thermosensory neurons, and also perform calcium imaging using UAS.GCaMP6m to measure activity of neurons in brain areas receiving projections.

Their functional imaging showed a dose response relationship between calcium changes and temperature, and they also show correlation between neuronal activity as measured by calcium and a two choice behavioral task.

The authors found some surprises concerning the functional characterization of the projections they studied.