Optogenetics - making neurons sensitive to activation by light - is a great tool in the unraveling of the function of the brain in biological processes and behavior. In a recent study by Rodrigo J. De Marco and his colleagues used optogenetic techniques to uncover the role of the pituitary in zebrafish larvae behavior after the onset of stress.
For a few years now, optogenetics has been the answer to shortcomings of using pharmaceuticals or electrodes in brain research. The temporal and spatial precision of optogenetic methods rapidly produced many new insights into neural networks in the normal and diseased brain. But like any other methodology, optogenetics also has limitations. Although wireless options have been developed, optogenetics means neuronal control by light, and delivering this light to the selected brain cells is still an invasive method (unless you are using larval zebrafish). Additionally, the method can be difficult to scale up, including to more neurons, deeper brain tissues, or larger brains.
The Zebrafish Multi-Chambered Exploratory Test (ZEMCET)
Today we have another guest writing for us, or actually two. I met Frank Scalzo (Bard College, New York) at last year's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago and I was very curious to find out more about their research using multi-chambered set-ups for their zebrafish larvae. Frank M. Scalzo and his colleague Brandon Chen were kind enough to share their insights in this blog post. Enjoy!
Did you know that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water?
At the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Groneberg and colleagues (Groneberg et al. 2015) showed that larval zebrafish show approach reactions followed by a form of positive taxis and gradual motion damping in response to water flows. That might sound complicated, but what it basically means is that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water and respond in a stereotypical way.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, at this year's Neuroscience I talked to someone from the Gerlai Lab at the University of Toronto (Ontario) who is involved in very interesting research on alcohol addiction. That person was Steven Tran, and I am very happy to say that he agreed to share a story on our Behavioral Research Blog. Take it away, Steven!
Wednesday, October 21st – I have been talking to so many interesting people around here. Not just researchers, but other vendors as well, such as our partner company Inscopix. It was great meeting some of the people from the company that made an important contribution to the research presented at our satellite symposium on Monday. I think there is a bright future ahead in combining live brain imaging with video tracking technology and I hope to be reporting about it more in the near future.
This week we have a guest blog post from Prof. Richard Baines. His lab investigates how the electrical development of neurons is regulated. His research was long based on the larvae of fruitfly, but the lab recently started using zebrafish larvae. He kindly agreed to share his insights on our blog.
We have learned that zebrafish have much more in common with humans than meets the eye, which is why they have become a “go-to” model in neuroscience research. But one obvious difference remains: we walk and they swim, which means movement in 3 dimensions. So while video tracking from one camera angle (e.g. above) can give us a lot of information about the movement of humans (or rodents), all the information from the third dimension (depth) is entirely missed from single camera tracking.
At the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Groneberg and colleagues researched one of the neural bases for behavior in Danio rerio. They showed that larval zebrafish execute approach reactions followed by a form of positive taxis and gradual motion damping in response to water flows. That might sound complicated, but what it basically means is that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water and respond in a stereotypical way.
It is almost time for the 9th European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo, Norway! So here are a couple of recent publications on zebrafish research to get you in the mood.