Monitoring heart function in larval Drosophila melanogaster for physiological studies.

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Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, ISSN: 1940-087X, Vol: 33, Issue: 33, Page: 1-7

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Cooper, Ann S.; Rymond, Kylah E.; Ward, Matthew A.; Bocook, Easter L.; Cooper, Robin L.
MyJove Corporation
Neuroscience; Chemical Engineering; Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Immunology and Microbiology; Cellular Biology; Issue 33; Invertebrate; myocyte; pacemaker; insect; Biology
article description
We present various methods to record cardiac function in the larval Drosophila. The approaches allow heart rate to be measured in unrestrained and restrained whole larvae. For direct control of the environment around the heart another approach utilizes the dissected larvae and removal of the internal organs in order to bathe the heart in desired compounds. The exposed heart also allows membrane potentials to be monitored which can give insight of the ionic currents generated by the myocytes and for electrical conduction along the heart tube. These approaches have various advantages and disadvantages for future experiments that are discussed. The larval heart preparation provides an additional model besides the Drosophila skeletal NMJ to investigate the role of intracellular calcium regulation on cellular function. Learning more about the underlying ionic currents that shape the action potentials in myocytes in various species, one can hope to get a handle on the known ionic dysfunctions associated to specific genes responsible for various diseases in mammals.