2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Identifying Mechanisms Involved in Neuronal Hyperactivity in Drosophila


Erin C. Darr*, Victoria Borchardt, Isaiah Oakes, and Miles Thies
Dr. Brett A. Berke, Faculty Mentor

Worldwide, 50 million individuals suffer from seizures, uncontrolled waves of neuronal activity that propagate throughout the brain. Research has identified many molecular mechanisms that control seizure activity, though the data still indicates the presence of undiscovered mechanisms. The model organism Drosophila melanogaster is being used to determine additional molecular mechanisms of neuronal hyperactivity. We are using a gain-of-function screening approach to overexpress selected genes to examine their role in neuronal hyperactivity. Three phenotypic tests are being used to measure neuronal hyperactivity: larval neuromuscular synaptic size, larval crawling, and anesthesia-induced adult leg shaking. Genes found to modify any of these aspects of development/behavior when overexpressed will be studied further by using the Drosophila genetic toolkit. This research should provide basic understanding of how previously unstudied proteins might impact neuronal activity in seizure sufferers.

Keywords: Drosophila, synapse, neuron, seizure, neuronal hyperactivity

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 105-1
Location: MG 2001
Time: 8:00

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