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Non-invasive red-light optogenetic control of Drosophila cardiac function

By Jing Men, Airong Li, Jason Jerwick, Zilong Li, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Chao Zhou

Posted 26 Jan 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.26.920132 (published DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-1065-3)

Drosophila is a powerful genetic model system for cardiovascular studies. Recently, optogenetic pacing tools have been developed to control Drosophila heart rhythm noninvasively with blue light, which has a limited penetration depth. Here we developed both a red-light sensitive opsin expressing Drosophila system and an integrated red-light stimulation and optical coherence microscopy (OCM) imaging system. We demonstrated noninvasive control of Drosophila cardiac rhythms, including simulated tachycardia in ReaChR-expressing flies and bradycardia and cardiac arrest in halorhodopsin (NpHR)-expressing flies at multiple developmental stages. By using red excitation light, we were able to pace flies at higher efficiency and with lower power than with equivalent blue light excitation systems. The recovery dynamics after red-light stimulation of NpHR flies were observed and quantified. The combination of red-light stimulation, OCM imaging, and transgenic Drosophila systems provides a promising and easily manipulated research platform for noninvasive cardiac optogenetic studies.

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