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Iyengar A.,Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience | Imoehl J.,University of Iowa | Ueda A.,University of Iowa | Nirschl J.,University of Iowa | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neurogenetics | Year: 2012

Automated tracking methods facilitate screening for and characterization of abnormal locomotion or more complex behaviors in Drosophila. We developed the Iowa Fly Locomotion and Interaction Tracker (IowaFLI Tracker), a MATLAB-based video analysis system, to identify and track multiple flies in a small arena. We report altered motor activity in the K+ and Na+ channel mutants, Hk1 and parats1, which had previously been shown to display abnormal larval locomotion. Environmental factors influencing individual behavior, such as available "social space," were studied by using IowaFLI Tracker to simultaneously track multiple flies in the same arena. We found that crowding levels affect individual fly activity, with the total movement of individual flies attenuated around a particular density. This observation may have important implications in the design of activity chambers for studying particular kinds of social interactions. IowaFLI Tracker also directly quantifies social interactions by tracking the amount of time individuals are in proximity to one another-visualized as an "interactogram." This feature enables the development of a "target-preference" assay to study male courtship behavior where males are presented with a choice between two immobilized, decapitated females, and their locomotion and interactions quantified. We used this assay to study the chemosensory mutants olf D (paraolf D, sbl 2) and Gr32a and their preferences towards virgin or mated females. Male olf D flies showed reduced courtship levels, with no clear preference towards either, whereas Gr32a males preferentially courted with virgin females over mated females in this assay. These initial results demonstrate that IowaFLI Tracker can be employed to explore motor coordination and social interaction phenomena in behavioral mutants of Drosophila. © 2012 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Source

Vralsted V.C.,Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience | Welsh M.J.,Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience | Welsh M.J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Wemmie J.A.,Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience | Wemmie J.A.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Genes, Brain and Behavior | Year: 2011

Previous studies on mice with a disruption of the gene encoding acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a) suggest that ASIC1a is required for normal fear behavior. To investigate the effects of altering the subunit composition of brain ASICs on behavior, we developed transgenic mice expressing ASIC3 via the pan-neuronal synapsin I promoter. These mice express ASIC3 in the brain, where the endogenous ASIC3 protein is not detected. We found that in ASIC3 transgenic mice, ASIC3 co-immunoprecipitated with the endogenous ASIC1a protein and distributed in the same subcellular brain fractions as ASIC1a. In addition, ASIC3 significantly increased the rate of desensitization of acid-evoked currents in cultured cortical neurons. Importantly, ASIC3 reduced Pavlovian fear conditioning to both context and auditory cues. These observations suggest that ASIC3 can heteromultimerize with ASIC1a in the brain and alter the biophysical properties of the endogenous channel complex. Moreover, these data suggest that ASIC subunit composition and channel desensitization may be critical determinants for ASIC-dependent behavior. © 2011 The Authors. Genes, Brain and Behavior © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society. No claim to original US government works. Source

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