Perception of gravity is essential for animals: most animals possess specific sense organs to detect the direction of the gravitational force. Little is known, however, about the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying their behavioral responses to gravity. Drosophila melanogaster, having a rather simple nervous system and a large variety of molecular genetic tools available, serves as an ideal model for analyzing the mechanisms underlying gravity sensing. Here we describe an assay to measure simple gravity responses of flies behaviorally. This method can be applied for screening genetic mutants of gravity perception. Furthermore, in combination with recent genetic techniques to silence or activate selective sets of neurons, it serves as a powerful tool to systematically identify neural substrates required for the proper behavioral responses to gravity. The assay requires 10 min to perform, and two experiments can be performed simultaneously, enabling 12 experiments per hour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)