Experience-dependent plasticity of the optomotor response in drosophila melanogaster

Akiko Kikuchi, Shumpei Ohashi, Naoyuki Fuse, Toshiaki Ohta, Marina Suzuki, Yoshinori Suzuki, Tomoyo Fujita, Takuya Miyamoto, Toru Aonishi, Hiroyoshi Miyakawa, Takako Morimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Experience in early life (can affect the development) of the nervous system. There is now evidence that experience-dependent plasticity exists in adult insects. To uncover the molecular basis of plasticity, an invertebrate model, such as Drosophila melanogaster, is a powerful tool, as many established genetic and molecular methods can be applied. To establish a model system in which behavioral plasticity can be examined, we investigated the optomotor response, a behavior common to most sight-reliant animals, in Drosophila and found that the response could be modified by the level of light during rearing. The angle turned by the head in response to a moving stimulus was used to quantify the response. Deprivation of light increased the response to low-contrast stimuli in wild-type Drosophila at 4 days after eclosion and this plastic change did not appear in rutabaga, a known mutant defective in short-term memory. In addition, the change was transient and was markedly decreased at 6 days after eclosion. Further, we found that Dark-flies, which have been kept in constant darkness for more than 50 years, showed a higher response to low-contrast stimuli even at 6 days after eclosion compared to wild type and this characteristic was not lost in Dark-flies placed in a normal light environment for 2 generations, suggesting that this high response has a hereditary nature. Thus, our model system can be used to examine how the environment affects behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Dark-fly
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Optomotor response
  • Plasticity
  • Visual system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Experience-dependent plasticity of the optomotor response in drosophila melanogaster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this