Navigation Links
Scientists at UMass Medical School identify neurons that control feeding behavior in Drosophila
Date:6/14/2013

WORCESTER Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a novel transgenic system which allows them to remotely activate individual brain cells in the model organism Drosophila using ambient temperature. This powerful new tool for identifying and characterizing neural circuitry has lead to the identification of a pair of neurons now called Fdg neurons in the fruit fly that decide when to eat and initiate the subsequent feeding action. Discovery of these neurons may help neurobiologists better understand how the brain uses memory and stimuli to produce classically conditioned responses, such as those often associated with phobias or drug tolerance. The study appears in the journal Nature.

"For any organism, the decision to eat is a complex integration of internal and external stimuli leading to the activation of an organized sequence of motor patterns," said Motojiro Yoshihara, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and lead author of the Nature study. "By developing genetic tools to remotely activate individual brain cells in Drosophila, we've been able to isolate a pair of neurons that are critical to the act of eating in fruit flies. More importantly, we now have a powerful new tool with which we can answer important questions about the function and composition of neural circuitry."

To isolate the neurons responsible for sensing food and initiating the complex feeding program in Drosophila, UMMS scientists had to develop a method of studying the behavior of freely moving flies while targeting and manipulating individual neurons. To accomplish this, Dr. Yoshihara expressed temperature activated genes in random neurons in more than 800 Drosophila lines. Placing these genetically modified flies in a small temperature-controlled chamber, he was able to active these genes by increasing and decreasing the ambient temperature. This, in turn, activated the corresponding neurons.

Under wild conditions, when a hungry fly comes in contact with food it ceases motion and executives eight basic motor functions resulting in the consumption of the food. When the temperature in the chamber was increased, Yoshihara and colleagues were able to isolate a single Drosophila line which exhibited these eight motor functions, even in the absence of food or other stimuli. Subsequent experiments revealed that the feeding mechanism initiated by activating the transgenes was being controlled by a single pair of neurons in the fly's brain. Furthermore, these feeding (Fdg) neurons were responsible for synthesizing cues about available food and hunger, and using them to start the feeding mechanism.

"Our results showed that these neurons become active in the presence of a food source for the fly, but the response was contingent on whether the animal was hungry," said Yoshihara. "This means that these neurons are integrating both internal and external stimuli in order to initiate a complex feeding behavior with multiple motor programs."

Yoshihara believes this discovery will provide researchers with a powerful new tool for isolating, analyzing and characterizing aspects of the brain's neural circuitry and studying how information is integrated in the brain. In the future, Yoshihara plans to use the Fdg-neurons to study the biological basis of classical or Pavlovian conditioning. Doing so, he hopes to uncover how memory integrates stimuli to illicit a conditioned behavior.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Fessenden
james.fessenden@umassmed.edu
508-856-2000
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists ID Gene Behind Early Onset Puberty
2. NIH scientists discover how HIV kills immune cells
3. Scientists find potential new clues for identifying breast cancer risk
4. PolyU Scientists Help Identify Genes Causing Myopia
5. Scientists Gauge Radiation Dose From Trip to Mars
6. Scientists Spot Genes Tied to Success at School, College
7. German and Israeli scientists gain new insights into protein disposal
8. Scientists Cant Replicate Surprising Finding on Alzheimers Treatment
9. Scientists discover how rapamycin slows cell growth
10. Scientists Map the Fungi on Your Feet
11. UofL scientists uncover how grapefruits provide a secret weapon in medical drug delivery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/2/2016)... , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... its FDA approved sSOIP telemedicine stethoscope software that enables the stethoscope stream to ... called PCP-SSP and works with RNK’s flagship PCP-USB stethoscope. , Remote auscultation involves ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 02, 2016 , ... Those who may be considering seeking ... useful information in a new video released by Serenity Recovery, a holistic treatment ... viewed on the Serenity Recovery YouTube channel, examines various treatment methods and strategies, ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... The Beryl ... Experience Journal (PXJ), an international, open access, peer-reviewed journal focused on research and ... representing international (non-US) based authors, the third volume of PXJ continues to expand ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... Austin, Texas (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... return. As a token of appreciation, pet owners celebrate National Pet Week, which falls ... 7 in 2016, remind pet owners to cherish the human-animal bond and recognize responsible ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... The Civilian Corps of the ... the civilian nurses that care for its uniformed service members, the retired service members, ... 1974 designating May 6th through May 12th National Nurses Week. It acknowledges the hard ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)...   BIOTRONIK will be exhibiting and initiating ... implant at the Heart Rhythm Society,s 37 th ... Francisco . "Physicians and hospitals ... patient care and satisfaction possible. Part of that process ... tomorrow," said Marlou Janssen , President, BIOTRONIK, Inc. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson ... woman who says its talc-based powder products caused ovarian ... $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million ... ) , This is the second ... February, the same court awarded $72 million to the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Specialty Silicone Fabricators is ... shows how a cleanroom works. The free visual ... science and technology. Chris ... technology company, SSF enthusiastically supports the Science, Technology, ... foster the next generation of innovators. We want ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: