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Jennifer Schaefer, Biology


In order to identify specific interneuron populations involved in muscle contraction in Drosophila larva through ontogenetic manipulation of motor neural circuits, I used GAL4-UAS system to generate larvae with channelrhodopsin2 embedded in cell membranes of interneuron populations of interest. I collected extracellular recordings of muscles during contraction in the dissected Drosophila larva. ChR2-stimulated action potentials lead to depolarizing potentials and contraction in muscle cells if the interneuron population of interest is important for Drosophila crawling neural circuits. I compared recordings from negative control, positive control, and experimental populations to identify which interneuron populations are sufficient to generate muscle excitation. These interneuron populations are putative constituents of the Drosophila larval crawling neural circuitry.

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