Larvae on the run: focus on the neurons that orchestrate movements in Drosophila

Publication by IGFL on October 22, 2019.

Drosophila larvae spend most of their short lives gorging on rotting fruit. In their ’spare time’ these intriguing animals also display phases of intense physical exercise. They are capable of an astonishing array of complex locomotor behaviours such as crawling at different speeds, crawling backwards, performing sharp turns, head sweeps and pauses. They can also hunch, bend, burrow and even roll. Using sophisticated neurogenetic techniques in this model animal we identify neurons located in the ventral nerve cord that choreograph these sophisticated manoeuvres and pirouettes, and control crawling speed.

Source: A GABAergic Maf-expressing interneuron subset regulates the speed of locomotion in Drosophila. H. Babski, T. Jovanic, C. Surel, S. Yoshikawa, M. F Zwart, J. Valmier, J. B. Thomas, J. Enriquez, P. Carroll & A. Garcès. Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 4796 (2019)