Methods to assay Drosophila behavior.

Abstract

Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, has been used to study molecular mechanisms of a wide range of human diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and various neurological diseases(1). We have optimized simple and robust behavioral assays for determining larval locomotion, adult climbing ability (RING assay), and courtship behaviors of Drosophila. These behavioral assays are widely applicable for studying the role of genetic and environmental factors on fly behavior. Larval crawling ability can be reliably used for determining early stage changes in the crawling abilities of Drosophila larvae and also for examining effect of drugs or human disease genes (in transgenic flies) on their locomotion. The larval crawling assay becomes more applicable if expression or abolition of a gene causes lethality in pupal or adult stages, as these flies do not survive to adulthood where they otherwise could be assessed. This basic assay can also be used in conjunction with bright light or stress to examine additional behavioral responses in Drosophila larvae. Courtship behavior has been widely used to investigate genetic basis of sexual behavior, and can also be used to examine activity and coordination, as well as learning and memory. Drosophila courtship behavior involves the exchange of various sensory stimuli including visual, auditory, and chemosensory signals between males and females that lead to a complex series of well characterized motor behaviors culminating in successful copulation. Traditional adult climbing assays (negative geotaxis) are tedious, labor intensive, and time consuming, with significant variation between different trials(2-4). The rapid iterative negative geotaxis (RING) assay(5) has many advantages over more widely employed protocols, providing a reproducible, sensitive, and high throughput approach to quantify adult locomotor and negative geotaxis behaviors. In the RING assay, several genotypes or drug treatments can be tested simultaneously using large number of animals, with the high-throughput approach making it more amenable for screening experiments.

DOI: 10.3791/3795
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@article{Nichols2012MethodsTA, title={Methods to assay Drosophila behavior.}, author={Charles D Nichols and Jaime Becnel and Udai Bhan Pandey}, journal={Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE}, year={2012}, volume={61} }