Investigating the relationship between water and sugar taste modalities in Drosophila melanogaster
The precise connections between gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) in the fruit fly brain is not understood. My research seeks to better understand the connection between GRNs identified as water-sensing and GRNs identified as sugar-sensing. The relationship can be characterized on a behavioral basis with optogenetic activation or knockout experiments measuring the frequency of response to water and sugar stimuli. It can also be visualized by imaging fluorescently labeled dissected brains. This summer, I hope to continue collecting data with these approaches and explore other ways to fully understand the connection between the two taste modalities.