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Long-term in vitro maintenance of neuromuscular junction activity of Drosophila larvae.

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1
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, 101 Rose Street, 40506-0225, Lexington, KY, USA.

Abstract

The larval Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) has proven to be an excellent system to test fundamental aspects of synaptic transmission, such as relationships among ion channel function, subtypes of glutamate receptors, and the functions of synaptic proteins in the presynaptic compartment. Recent advances in understanding bi-directional communication between nerves and muscles of Drosophila are helping uncover developmental as well as maintenance cues that could be applicable to all chemical synapses. The development of HL3 medium makes it possible to record synaptic responses at NMJs for prolonged periods of time. We demonstrate that media commonly used to culture CNS neurons and imaginal disks of Drosophila such as Schneider's and M3 completely block glutamatergic synaptic transmission at the NMJ. The depressed postsynaptic excitatory junction potentials (EJPs) partially recover from exposure to such media shortly after switching to the HL3 medium. Preliminary results from NMJs of filleted 3rd instar larvae for 4 days in vitro bathed in a modified HL3 medium show great promise. The resting membrane potential and the EJP amplitudes after 4 days in vitro are normal. These results demonstrate the possibility for chronic studies of developmental regulation in culture, which in some cases are impractical in the whole animal.

PMID:
12547254
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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