Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Biology

Supervisor

ANA REGINA CAMPOS

Language

English

Abstract

The foraging stage of larval development is characterized by an attraction to food resources and an increased consumption of nutrients. Food attraction is partially mediated by an attunement to a light source, visible as distinct locomotor patterns that larvae exhibit in light and dark environments. Loss of the Drosophila Ran Binding Protein in the Microtubule Organizing Center (dRanBPM) leads to a disruption of locomotion in response to light, a reduction in larval feeding and larval size, and a decrease in viability. The long isoform of dRanBPM has been shown to localize to the Mushroom Body (MB) of the larval CNS, an important structure involved in learning and memory behaviours. Various neuronal markers failed to show any severe morphological abnormalities due to loss of dRanBPM gene function in the larval CNS. In addition to a decrease in food consumption, dRanBPM mutants also showed a decreased attraction to a food source. These results are supplemented by evidence that dRanBPM affects sensory modalities associated with olfaction and phototaxis. The role of the MB in larval behaviours associated with loss of dRanBPM gene function has yet to be fully elucidated. dRanBPM mutant behavioural phenotypes, such as larval response to light, have been recapitulated through MB silencing studies. My results suggest further that decreasing but not increasing excitabi Iity in the y neurons of the MB affects response to Iight and feeding behaviours.

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