Ontogeny of flight initiation in the fly Drosophila melanogaster: implications for the giant fibre system

Hammond, Sarah and O'Shea, Michael (2007) Ontogeny of flight initiation in the fly Drosophila melanogaster: implications for the giant fibre system. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology, 193 (11). pp. 1125-1137. ISSN 0340-7594

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There are two modes of flight initiation in Drosophila melanogasterescape and voluntary. Although the circuitry underlying escape is accounted for by the Giant fibre (GF) system, the system underlying voluntary flight initiation is unknown. The GF system is functionally complete before the adult fly ecloses, but immature adults initially fail to react to a stimulus known to reliably evoke escape in mature adults. This suggests that escape in early adulthood, 2-h post-eclosion, is not automatically triggered by the hard-wired GF system. Indeed, we reveal that escape behaviour displays a staged emergence during the first hour post-eclosion, suggesting that the GF system is subject to declining levels of suppression. Voluntary flight initiations are not observed at all during the period when the GF system is released from its suppression, nor indeed for some time after. We addressed the question whether voluntary flight initiation requires the GF system by observing take-off in Shak-B 2 mutant flies, in which the GF system is defunct. While the escape response is severely impaired in these mutants, they displayed normal voluntary flight initiation. Thus, the escape mechanism is subject to developmental modulation following eclosion and the GF system does not underlie voluntary flight. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00359-007-0265-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Sarah Hammond
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:49
Last Modified: 02 May 2012 16:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28304
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