2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

A Role for the Numb Protein in Drosophila Locomotion 


Mary K. Renkemeyer*, Samuel J. Leone, Haley L. Stuckmeyer, Lauren N. Galbraith, Josie L. Emery, and Jason Baltz
Dr. Brett Berke, Faculty Mentor

Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) larvae crawling patterns have been extensively studied as a model for the genetic basis of animal locomotion. Wild-type animals crawl predominantly forward, with rare instances when the larva pauses, swings its side to side, and then continues in a new direction (a ‘search’). We have found that knocking down the Numb protein with RNA interference disrupts larval locomotion, increasing the amount of searching and causing abnormally sharp turns. Numb is a peripheral membrane protein that functions in asymmetric stem cell division during early development. The locomotor defects were only observed when Numb expression was reduced in presynaptic motoneurons, rather than postsynaptic muscle. Presynaptic knock-down also disrupted synaptic development at the larval neuromuscular junction, the connection between motoneurons and body wall muscles. In particular, the size of this synapse and the amount of neurotransmitter released were both reduced with presynaptic knockdown of Numb.

Keywords: Drosophila, Numb , Animal Behavior , Synapse

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 208-1
Location: MC 209
Time: 10:15

Add to Custom Schedule

* Indicates the Student Presenter
Contact SRC Webmaster  |  SRC Privacy Policy