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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Nov 2020 - 20 Nov 2020


Animal Studies

2020 Oct 29

J Vis Exp


An Improved Assay and Tools for Measuring Mechanical Nociception in Drosophila Larvae.



Published assays for mechanical nociception in Drosophila have led to variable assessments of behavior. Here, we fabricated, for use with Drosophila larvae, customized metal nickel-titanium alloy (nitinol) filaments. These mechanical probes are similar to the von Frey filaments used in vertebrates to measure mechanical nociception. Here, we demonstrate how to make and calibrate these mechanical probes and how to generate a full behavioral dose-response from subthreshold (innocuous or non-noxious range) to suprathreshold (low to high noxious range) stimuli. To demonstrate the utility of the probes, we investigated tissue damage-induced hypersensitivity in Drosophila larvae. Mechanical allodynia (hypersensitivity to a normally innocuous mechanical stimulus) and hyperalgesia (exaggerated responsiveness to a noxious mechanical stimulus) have not yet been established in Drosophila larvae. Using mechanical probes that are normally innocuous or probes that typically elicit an aversive behavior, we found that Drosophila larvae develop mechanical hypersensitization (both allodynia and hyperalgesia) after tissue damage. Thus, the mechanical probes and assay that we illustrate here will likely be important tools to dissect the fundamental molecular/genetic mechanisms of mechanical hypersensitivity.