Farhan Mohammad1,2, Sameer Aryal2, Joses Ho2, James Charles Stewart2, Nurul Ayuni Norman2, Teng Li Tan2, Agnese Eisaka2 and Adam Claridge-Chang1,2,3,*
1 Program in Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore 138673, Singapore
2 Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Agency for Science Technology and Research, Singapore 138673, Singapore
3 Department of Physiology, National University of Singapore, Singapore 138673, Singapore
* Correspondence: email@example.com
Published in Current Biology on 24 March 2016.
Anxiety helps us anticipate and assess potential danger in ambiguous situations; however, the anxiety disorders are the most prevalent class of psychiatric illness. Emotional states are shared between humans and other animals, as observed by behavioral manifestations, physiological responses, and gene conservation. Anxiety research makes wide use of three rodent behavioural assays - elevated plus maze, open field, and light/ dark box—that present a choice between sheltered and exposed regions. Exposure avoidance in anxiety-related defense behaviors was confirmed to be a correlate of rodent anxiety by treatment with known anxiety-altering agents and is now used to characterize anxiety systems. Modeling anxiety with a small neurogenetic animal would further aid the elucidation of its neuronal and molecular bases. Drosophila neurogenetics research has elucidate the mechanisms of fundamental behaviours and implicated genes that are often orthologous across species. In an enclosed arena, flies stay close to the walls during spontaneous locomotion, a behavior proposed to be related to anxiety. We tested this hypothesis with manipulations of the GABA receptor, serotonin signaling, and stress. The effects of these interventions were strikingly concordant with rodent anxiety, verifying that these behaviors report on an anxiety-like state. Application of this method was able to identify several new fly anxiety genes. The presence of conserved neurogenetic pathways in the insect brain identifies Drosophila as an attractive genetic model for the study of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, complementing existing rodent systems.
- Drosophila orthologs of anxiety genes affect fly wall following
- Conserved anxiety genes influence fly defense behaviors
similarly to mouse anxiety
- New candidate anxiety genes are identified from fly defense
- Drosophila identified as a new neurogenetic tool for anxiety
For more information on Adam Claridge-Chang's laboratory, please click here.