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Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual

Subject Area(s):  Developmental BiologyDrosophila melanogasterLaboratory TechniquesNeurobiology

Edited by Bing Zhang, University of Oklahoma; Marc R. Freeman, University of Massachusetts Medical School; Scott Waddell, University of Massachusetts Medical School

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© 2010 • 534 pp., illus. (70 color, 43 b/w), appendix, index
Trim size: 8-1/2" x 10-7/8"
Paperback • $154.00 107.80
ISBN  978-0-879699-05-5
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s long-running Neurobiology of Drosophila course has trained a generation of neuroscientists, many of whom have become leaders in the field. Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual offers the detailed protocols and background material developed by the course instructors to all researchers interested in using Drosophila as an experimental model for investigating the nervous system. The manual covers three approaches to the field: Studying Neural Development in Drosophila melanogaster, Recording and Imaging in the Drosophila Nervous System, and Studying Behavior in Drosophila. Techniques described include molecular, genetic, electrophysiological, imaging, behavioral and developmental methods. Written by leading experts from the community, Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual is an essential guide for researchers at all levels, from the beginning graduate student through the established primary investigator.


1. Studying Neural Development in Drosophila melanogaster: An Introduction to Section 1
Marc R. Freeman
2. Molecular and Cellular Analyses of Larval Brain Neuroblasts in Drosophila melanogaster
Aric L. Daul, Hideyuki Komori, and Chen-Yu Lee
3. Cell-Fate Determination in the Embryonic Central Nervous System
Heather Broihier
4. Analysis of Axon Guidance in the Embryonic Central Nervous System of Drosophila
Greg J. Bashaw
5. Analysis of Glial Cell Development and Function in Drosophila
Tobias Stork, Rebecca Bernardos, and Marc R. Freeman
6. Methods for Exploring the Genetic Control of Sensory Neuron Dendrite Morphogenesis
Brikha R. Shrestha and Wesley B. Grueber
7. Embryonic and Larval Neuromuscular Junction: An Overview with Selected Methods and Protocols
Preethi Ramachandran and Vivian Budnik
8. Genetic Mosaic Analysis of Drosophila Brain by MARCM
Chih-Fei Kao and Tzumin Lee
9. Studying Olfactory Development and Neuroanatomy with Clonal Analysis
Aaron Ostrovsky, Sebastian Cachero, and Gregory Jefferis
10. Dissecting and Staining Drosophila Optic Lobes
Javier Morante and Claude Desplan
11. Recording and Imaging in the Drosophila Nervous System: An Introduction to Section 2
Bing Zhang, Phillip A. Vanlandingham, and Hong Bao
12. Synaptic Physiology at the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction
Bing Zhang and Bryan Stewart
13. Electrophysiological Recordings from the Drosophila Giant Fiber System
Marcus J. Allen and Tanja A. Godenschwege
14. Analysis of Visual Physiology in the Adult Drosophila Eye
Patrick Dolph, Amit Nair, Padinjat Raghu
15. Measuring Sound-Evoked Potentials from Drosophila Johnston’s Organ
Daniel F. Eberl and Maurice J. Kernan
16. Chemosensory Coding in Single Sensilla
Richard Benton and Anupama Dahanukar
17. Electrophysiological Recording from Neurons in Drosophila Embryos and Larvae
Richard Marley and Richard A. Baines
18. In Vivo Whole-Cell Recordings in the Drosophila Brain
Mala Murthy and Glenn Turner
19. Calcium Imaging
Gregory T. Macleod
20. Imaging Neuropeptide Release and Signaling in the Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction with Green Fluorescent Protein
Edwin S. Levitan and Dinara Shakiryanova
21. In Vivo Imaging of Drosophila Larval Neuromuscular Junctions to Study Synapse Assembly
Till F.M. Andlauer and Stephan J. Sigrist
22. Experimental Methods for Examining Synaptic Plasticity
Douglas P. Olsen and Haig Keshishian
23. Acute Inactivation of Proteins Using FIAsH-FALI
Ron L.P. Habets and Patrik Verstreken
24. Studying Behavior in Drosophila: An Introduction to Section 3
Scott Waddell
25. Visual Learning and Perception in Drosophila
Bruno van Swinderen
26. Aversive and Appetitive Olfactory Conditioning
Michael J. Krashes and Scott Waddell
27. Odor–Taste Learning in Larval Drosophila
Bertram Gerber, Roland Biernacki, and Jeannette Thum
28. Studying Aggression in Drosophila
Sarah J. Certel and Edward A. Kravitz
29. Courtship
Stephen F. Goodwin and Kevin M.C. O’Dell
30. Measurement of Courtship Plasticity in Drosophila
Aki Ejima and Leslie C. Griffith
31. Sleep and Circadian Behavior Monitoring in Adult Drosophila
Cory Pfeiffenberger, Bridget C. Lear, Kevin P. Keegan, and Ravi Allada
32. Feeding Behavior of Drosophila Larvae
Ping Shen
Appendix: Cautions
Movies are freely available online at
Chapter 28
Studying Aggression in Drosophila
Movie 28.1 One male fly approaches the other and lifts his wings in a threatening pose. This wing threat extends for >10 sec although the movie is clipped before the end. Movie kindly provided by Olga Alekseyenko.
Movie 28.2 The male fly on the left lunges three times in quick succession at the male on the right. Lunging is when one male fly rears up on his hind legs and snaps down on the other fly. Movie kindly provided by Olga Alekseyenko.
Movie 28.3 This extended encounter starts with the male fly on the left approaching a second male and lunging twice in quick succession. The second male turns and retaliates with lunges that escalate to boxing, tussling, holding, and many lunges. Movie kindly provided by Olga Alekseyenko.
Chapter 30
Measurement of Courtship Plasticity in Drosophila
Movie 30.1 Introduction of flies into a wheel chamber using a mouth aspirator.


review:  “This almost ‘foolproof’ manual is a ‘must have’ for every Drosophila neurobiology laboratory, and is a tribute to the creativity of the fly community for steadily advancing technologies to label, manipulate, or examine neurons....Each chapter is well organized, and features a concise introduction, critical references, and detailed experimental protocols that cover basic and cutting-edge techniques, many of which have revolutionized the way we do research....Positively, this specialized manual will be an unparalleled resource for the fly neurobiology novice and aficionado.”
      —The Quarterly Review of Biology

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