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Dipl.-Biol. Ruth Bartels


The role of neurotransmitters in mushroom body extrinsic neurons

Mushroom body extrinsic neurons are change their response properties in the course of learning. Alpha lobe extrinsic neurons leave the lobe via two main sides, the ventral alpha exit and the lateral PCT neurons dominated exit. The aim of my doctoral research is to study the impact of different neurotransmitters on the neuronal activity of mb extrinsic neurons. This question is directly related to the unsolved problem which neurotransmitters are released by Kenyon cells. I shall address this question by recording from both groups of alpha lobe extrinsic neurons.

In order to answer these questions I am recording extracellularly from the neurons in these two output regions and simultaneously stimulate Kenyon cells via their somata in the calyx. My goal is to analyze changes in extrinsic neuron’s responses to electrical stimulation after applying neurotransmitters or their respective receptor blockers. In addition I will record the changes in spontaneous activity after application of neurotransmitters or blocking agents.

This work is funded by the BMBF/DLR Bernstein Fokus-Lernen 01GQ0941.