Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Terra Hanks1, Jonathan Andrews2, Sarah Certel1,2

1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

2Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Nearly every species utilizes aggression to secure resources or gain access to mates; however, pathways directing aggressive behavior are not well understood. Previous work in our lab identified genes and sets of neurons important in male Drosophila aggression. Of particular interest is a group of ~100 neurons that express the neurotransmitter, octopamine. Octopamine (OA) is structurally related to the vertebrate neuromodulator norepinephrine. Both are important in behavior, including arousal, learning, memory, opiate reward, and aggression. Specifically, we found that males without OA take longer to fight and often court the second male instead of fighting, indicating OA is necessary for males to make correct behavior decisions.

Octopamine signals subsequent neurons by binding to specific G-protein receptors called OA receptors; four are present in Drosophila. My goal is to examine the morphological and synaptic connections within OAβ1R-expressing neurons. I perform brain and central nerve cord dissections followed by a series of immunohistochemical analyses and fluorescent microscopy. By labeling neurons with green fluorescent protein (GFP), I determine individual location and synaptic connection. The results help determine if octopamine neurons specifically connect to a pathway for aggression and a separate pathway for courtship. Preliminarily, I identified eight GFP-expressing neurons through the OAβ1R-Gal4 line in the subesophageal ganglion, a region that receives pheromone input. OAβ1R-Gal4 GFP-expressing neurons are also found in the ventral nerve cord in interneurons with cell bodies in distinct segments. Additionally, I located twenty-four OAβ1R-Gal4 driven neurons that express GFP in the legs of the fly. The importance of a neuronal pathway map is paramount to continued research in courtship and aggression. Once morphology is understood, behavior can be correlated with specific synaptic circuits.

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Life Sciences

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Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 12:00 PM

Identifying octopamine receptor expressing neurons in the adult Drosophila male

Terra Hanks1, Jonathan Andrews2, Sarah Certel1,2

1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

2Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

Nearly every species utilizes aggression to secure resources or gain access to mates; however, pathways directing aggressive behavior are not well understood. Previous work in our lab identified genes and sets of neurons important in male Drosophila aggression. Of particular interest is a group of ~100 neurons that express the neurotransmitter, octopamine. Octopamine (OA) is structurally related to the vertebrate neuromodulator norepinephrine. Both are important in behavior, including arousal, learning, memory, opiate reward, and aggression. Specifically, we found that males without OA take longer to fight and often court the second male instead of fighting, indicating OA is necessary for males to make correct behavior decisions.

Octopamine signals subsequent neurons by binding to specific G-protein receptors called OA receptors; four are present in Drosophila. My goal is to examine the morphological and synaptic connections within OAβ1R-expressing neurons. I perform brain and central nerve cord dissections followed by a series of immunohistochemical analyses and fluorescent microscopy. By labeling neurons with green fluorescent protein (GFP), I determine individual location and synaptic connection. The results help determine if octopamine neurons specifically connect to a pathway for aggression and a separate pathway for courtship. Preliminarily, I identified eight GFP-expressing neurons through the OAβ1R-Gal4 line in the subesophageal ganglion, a region that receives pheromone input. OAβ1R-Gal4 GFP-expressing neurons are also found in the ventral nerve cord in interneurons with cell bodies in distinct segments. Additionally, I located twenty-four OAβ1R-Gal4 driven neurons that express GFP in the legs of the fly. The importance of a neuronal pathway map is paramount to continued research in courtship and aggression. Once morphology is understood, behavior can be correlated with specific synaptic circuits.