2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Investigating a role for the Numb adapter protein in neurotransmission at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction 

Thi A. Tran
Dr. Brett A. Berke, Faculty Mentor

Neurotransmission is a process in which signaling molecules (neurotransmitters) are released from the presynaptic neurons and then react with receptor proteins on the downstream neuron or muscle cell. The neuromuscular junction (NMJ) of Drosophila third instar larvae is a model synapse that allows us to observe this process, record responses at the target muscles, while also genetically manipulating the pre- or postsynaptic cells. We are modeling neurotransmission at the larval NMJ using NetLogo, a program which lets us replicate different molecular mechanisms and monitor physiological outcomes. With our model, we are studying Numb, an adapter protein that alters larval crawling behavior, which involves neuromuscular activity. When knocking down Numb in presynaptic neurons, physiological recordings indicate a reduction in neurotransmitter release. Applying the model to study Numb’s potential roles in motoneurons will help design experiments to test specific contributions in neurotransmission, and may inform us about how Numb regulates animal behavior.

Keywords: Drosophila, Numb , Neurotranmission, Computational model, Animal behavior


Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Session: 2-8
Location: SUB Activities Room
Time: 3:00

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