Kinematic Analysis of Drosophila Larval Locomotion in Response to Intermittent Light Pulses
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We report a quantitative analysis of the modulation of locomotion by light in the Drosophila larva. The photobehavior of wild type larvae and of larvae carrying mutations altering various aspects of locomotion was evaluated in an assay that exposes individual animals to intermittent pulses of dark and light (ON/OFF assay). The application of the Dynamic Image Analysis System for the analysis of larval movement in the ON/OFF assay allowed a detailed description of the behavioral repertoire underlying the modulation of larval motion by light. We established that the larval response to light is characterized by decreased frequency of peristaltic contractions in addition to increased direction change and pausing. Moreover, using various mutant strains we show that this approach allows the detection of a response to light in mutant larvae whose locomotion is severely reduced and uncoordinated, mutants that would otherwise have been considered non-responders in this assay.
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