Navigation Links
LSUHSC researchers develop new system to better study behavior, cell function
Date:9/5/2013

New Orleans, LA A team of researchers led by Charles D. Nichols, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has successfully translated a new technology to better study behaviors and cellular function to fruit flies. This powerful genetic tool Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs allows scientists to selectively, rapidly, reversibly, and dose-dependently remotely control behaviors and physiological processes in the fly. The fruit fly shares a significant degree of similarity to humans and can be used to model a number of human diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, ALS, mental illness, and more. The research, published on September 5, 2013, is available online in the journal, Cell Reports.

"Significant advantages the fly offers as a model are the advanced genetic tools available for manipulating gene expression, like the ability to selectively express genes in any defined cell or tissue, in combination with its prolific and rapid reproduction cycle and ease of growth," notes Charles D. Nichols, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

In order to study behaviors, a common method is to manipulate the activity state of neurons and observe the effects. By and large, current methods are essentially switches to turn the neuron on or off and can produce dramatic changes in neuronal activity that can manifest in significant behavioral changes. One disadvantage with these switch-like approaches is that they can mask more subtle functions of neuronal circuits in regulating behaviors.

Another is that many require expensive specialized equipment like light sources and fiber optics to manipulate neuron function. Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs, or DREADD, technology was first developed by one of the co-authors (B.L. Roth) for mammalian systems and overcomes many of the limitations of switch-based approaches.

Using genetic technology, the research team developed DREADD receptors in the flies' neuronal circuits, which they selectively activated by feeding the flies a drug that only activates the DREADD receptors in their food. There were three DREADD flavors two activating and one inhibitory. Depending on which DREADD was expressed where, distinct neural circuits could either be activated or suppressed. Because the researchers activated DREADDs with drugs in the food, the degree of activation could be precisely controlled by just changing the amount of drug in the food.

"We have successfully translated this technology to the fly and in this paper report reversible and dose responsive control of many behaviors including sensory perception, learning and memory, and courtship," says Dr. Nichols. "Our new pharmacogenetic approach fills an important and unmet need in our ability to understand fly behaviors by allowing us for the first time to conveniently examine behaviors in only partially activated neurons to uncover more subtle roles for particular neurons and circuits in behaviors." A better understanding of fly behaviors will translate to a better understanding of human biology and diseases.

A unique feature of this DREADD system not found in other methods is that it is not limited to the control of neurons activity levels of certain enzymes in almost every tissue type can be controlled to probe mechanisms of basic cellular function. The researchers demonstrated this ability by stopping the fly heart with activation of the inhibiting DREADD expressed in the heart, and then restarting the heart simply by washing away the drug.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. LSUHSC researcher awarded NCI grant to study link between chronic inflammation and cancer
2. LSUHSC research identifies new risk factors for parasitic infection
3. LSUHSC research discovers new drug target for metastatic breast cancer
4. LSUHSC research identifies co-factors critical to PTSD development
5. LSUHSC scientist awarded nearly $2 million to determine role of biofilms in common fungal infection
6. LSUHSC research discovery provides therapeutic target for ALS
7. LSUHSCs Weiss chosen to help set national eye policy, research
8. LSUHSC research identifies new therapeutic target for Alzheimers disease
9. LSUHSC research finds ginkgo biloba doesn’t improve cognitive function in MS
10. LSUHSC research finds treating stress prevented new MS brain lesions
11. LSUHSC research finds HPV-related head & neck cancers rising, highest in middle-aged white men
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed ... focused on medical screening and diagnostic applications, ... Wearable devices that facilitate and assure continuous ... movement are being bolstered through new opportunities ... signal acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer – ... Are you interested in the future of cancer ... inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to 2026 ... level. Avoid falling behind in data or ... revenues those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. There ...
(Date:2/2/2016)...   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced today ... Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency ... company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software for ... defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best known ... ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... --> --> Q BioMed ... provide the following update on recent corporate developments. ... months we have significantly increased our cash position through several ... result, we have positioned ourselves to execute on the initial ... that development to continue on schedule. --> ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology has been recognized As “ Best ... by Corporate America Magazine. , “At Corporate America, it’s our priority to showcase ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Pa. , Feb. 3, 2016  Discovery ... company focused on developing aerosolized KL4 surfactant therapies ... of Directors has approved an inducement award as ... Fraser , its newly appointed President and Chief ... Board,s Compensation Committee on February 1, 2016 and ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... N.J. , Feb. 3, 2016 ... totaling more than $1 million for researchers in ... working on health-related research that demonstrates exciting potential. ... round of funding for the New Jersey Health Foundation ... faculty members at these educational institutions— Princeton University, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: