Jessica Co L&S Biological Sciences
Drosophila Dopamine Receptor Characterization using Split GFP System
EPG neurons are head direction cells also known as compass neurons found in the ellipsoid body (EB) of the Drosophila brain. They have been shown to store and update heading direction based on self motion and visual cues received via neighboring neuron activity. Further research has shown that dopamine release coincident with visual input from ring neurons can induce rapid plasticity of visual inputs onto EPG neurons. However, two types of dopaminergic neurons synapse onto EPG neurons at two different brain regions, and there are three different types of dopamine receptors present in the EB. Determination of the expression patterns of each receptor would allow unprecedented understanding of where dopamine is acting on this system to promote the plasticity in the EPG network that is essential to direction sensing. The goal of this project is to utilize a split GFP system and confocal imaging to identify where the Dop1R1, Dop2R, and DopEcR receptors are localized within EPG neurons, which will ultimately give insight to the role of dopamine in learning and navigation in Drosophila.