News archives


OCTOBER - DECEMBER 17

JULY - SEPTEMBER 17

APRIL - JUNE 17

JANUARY - MARCH 17

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 16

JULY - SEPTEMBER 16

APRIL - JUNE 16

JANUARY - MARCH 16

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 15

JULY - SEPTEMBER 15

APRIL - JUNE 15

JANUARY - MARCH 15

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 14

JULY - SEPTEMBER 14

APRIL - JUNE 14

JANUARY - MARCH 14

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 13

JULY - SEPTEMBER 13

APRIL - JUNE 13

JANUARY - MARCH 13

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 12

JULY - SEPTEMBER 12

APRIL - JUNE 12

JANUARY - MARCH 12

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 11

JULY - SEPTEMBER 11

APRIL - JUNE 11

JANUARY - MARCH 11

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 10

JULY - SEPTEMBER 10

APRIL - JUNE 10

JANUARY - MARCH 10

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 09

JULY - SEPTEMBER 09

APRIL - JUNE 09

JANUARY - MARCH 09

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 08

JULY - SEPTEMBER 08

APRIL - JUNE 08

JANUARY - MARCH 08

OCTOBER - DECEMBER 07

JULY - SEPTEMBER 07

APRIL - JUNE 07

JANUARY - MARCH 07

 
  current news   Press   selected story    
     
  22 April 2016  
 
Ancient Anxiety Pathways Influence Drosophila Defense Behaviors
 
 




Authors
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: claridge-chang.adam@duke-nus.edu.sg

Published in Current Biology on 24 March 2016.

Abstract

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.

Graphical abstract::


Highlights:

  • 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 behavior screen
  • Drosophila identified as a new neurogenetic tool for anxiety research

For more information on Adam Claridge-Chang's laboratory, please click here.