Assaying locomotor, learning, and memory deficits in Drosophila models of neurodegeneration

Yousuf O. Ali, Wilfredo Escala, Kai Ruan, Rong G Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Advances in genetic methods have enabled the study of genes involved in human neurodegenerative diseases using Drosophila as a model system1. Most of these diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease are characterized by age-dependent deterioration in learning and memory functions and movement coordination2. Here we use behavioral assays, including the negative geotaxis assay3 and the aversive phototaxic suppression assay (APS assay)4,5, to show that some of the behavior characteristics associated with human neurodegeneration can be recapitulated in flies. In the negative geotaxis assay, the natural tendency of flies to move against gravity when agitated is utilized to study genes or conditions that may hinder locomotor capacities. In the APS assay, the learning and memory functions are tested in positively-phototactic flies trained to associate light with aversive bitter taste and hence avoid this otherwise natural tendency to move toward light. Testing these trained flies 6 hours post-training is used to assess memory functions. Using these assays, the contribution of any genetic or environmental factors toward developing neurodegeneration can be easily studied in flies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2504
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number49
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

Fingerprint

Memory Disorders
Diptera
Drosophila
Assays
Learning
Data storage equipment
Light
Genes
Neurodegenerative diseases
Huntington Disease
Gravitation
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Parkinson Disease
Alzheimer Disease
Deterioration
Testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Assaying locomotor, learning, and memory deficits in Drosophila models of neurodegeneration. / Ali, Yousuf O.; Escala, Wilfredo; Ruan, Kai; Zhai, Rong G.

In: Journal of Visualized Experiments, No. 49, e2504, 01.03.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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