Proboscis extension response
We have been filming flies with defective Proboscis extension responses (PER) - sample videos are here
Fly being presented with droplet of sucrose, proboscis retracted, legs not yet in the droplet Same fly, now with the legs having touched the sucrose droplet, and having consequently extended the proboscis to drink from the sucrose solution
Watch the movie here !!
Logo of fly jumping Measuring the output of a single twitch muscle in vivo

Most muscle work measures muscles isolated from the organism, but in Drosophila we can measure the output of the jump muscle in the restrained fly - no dissection needed. Here's a sketch:

animation of stimulated jump

and here is the sample output:
animation of actual output

We have used this to measure the reduction in force in mutants with defective muscle proteins; details here (open access) and with defective neurotransmission (Invertebrate Neuroscience online - Springer abstract and link to full text; author pdf manuscript, 750Kbytes). This paper (Methods, in press, author manuscript) gives details of th method, and has a video showing how the setup works.

Jumping - flies that don't synthesise octopamine jump less well!

Details are available on:

Reproductive Tracts of the fly
atrist's sketch of ovary
Female flies need octopamine (but not tyramine) to lay eggs
  • A paper published in BMC Biology, showing the innervation of the ovary and oviduct is dominated by octopamine, and that the role of octopamine provides a double whammy to help get the eggs out of the ovary
  • Micrograph, videos and explanation online
sketch of male reproductive tract Males need serotonin for ejaculation?
  • Our paper in J Neurogenetics shows serotonin blockers prevent ejaculatory rhythms, and that the frequency of the rhythm is reduced in mated males
  • Micrograph, videos and explanation online

Chris Elliott, 03 dec 2007