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Title page for ETD etd-03192019-071526


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kennedy, Tyler Joseph
URN etd-03192019-071526
Title Development and Function of the Drosophila Giant Fiber Neural Circuit
Degree PhD
Department Biological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Douglas McMahon Committee Chair
David Miller III Committee Member
Manuel Ascano Jr Committee Member
Todd Graham Committee Member
Keywords
  • dye injection
  • giant fiber
  • synaptogenesis
  • drosophila
  • circuit
  • gap junction
Date of Defense 2019-02-27
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
The Drosophila Giant Fiber (GF) circuit is a highly tractable set of neurons driving rapid escape behavior. The work presented here takes advantage of the large size and accessibility of these central neurons to study neurological disease and development. I will focus on my two unexpected discoveries. The first is a new phenotype for the human autism/intellectual disability disorder, Fragile X syndrome (FXS). My results show movement of charged ions into neurons is significantly increased in the Drosophila FXS model, likely due to alterations in cytosolic ion mobility. The second discovery is a novel set of mutations that cause hyper-connectivity during GF circuit formation. The disrupted genes, found in the background of an FXS mutant line, were identified through bulk segregant analysis and whole genome sequencing. Both of these findings reflect poorly studied areas of neuroscience, but likely reveal important new mechanisms in neurological disease and development.
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