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Live calcium imaging of Aedes aegypti neuronal tissues reveals differential importance of chemosensory systems for life-history-specific foraging strategies

By Michelle Bui, Jennifer Shyong, Eleanor K. Lutz, Ting Yang, Ming Li, Kenneth Truong, Ryan Arvidson, Anna B. Buchman, Jeffrey A. Riffell, Omar Akbari

Posted 12 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/345389 (published DOI: 10.1186/s12868-019-0511-y)

Aedes aegypti have a wide variety of sensory pathways that have supported success as a species as well as a highly competent vector of numerous debilitating infectious pathogens. Investigations into mosquito sensory systems and their effects on behavior are valuable resources for the advancement of mosquito control strategies. Numerous studies have elucidated key aspects of mosquito sensory systems, however there remains critical gaps within the field. In particular, compared to that of the adult form, there has been a lack of studies directed towards the immature life stages. Additionally, although numerous studies have pinpointed specific sensory receptors as well as relevant response behaviors, there has been a lack of studies able to monitor both concurrently. To begin filling aforementioned gaps, here we engineered Ae. aegypti to ubiquitously express a genetically encoded calcium indicator, GCaMP6s. Using this strain, combined with advanced confocal microscopy, we were able to simultaneously measure live stimulus-evoked calcium responses in both neuronal and muscle cells with a wide spatial range and resolution. Moreover, by coupling in vivo calcium imaging with behavioral assays we were able to gain functional insights into how stimulus-evoked neural and muscle activities are represented, modulated, and transformed in mosquito larvae enabling us to elucidate mosquito sensorimotor properties important for life-history-specific foraging strategies.

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