Drosophila Neurobiology: A Laboratory Manual is “an unparalleled resource for the fly neurobiology novice and aficionado” according to a recent review in The Quarterly Review of Biology. Konrad Zinsmaier, the reviewer, described it as an “almost ‘foolproof’ manual” in which each chapter is “well organized, and features a concise introduction, critical references, and detailed experimental protocols.”
One such article, which outlines methods and tools for studying synaptic plasticity in Drosophila, is featured in this month’s issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. The Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a well-established model for studying synaptic function; both the motor neurons and the target muscle cells can be directly manipulated at the cellular and molecular levels. In the article, Haig Keshishian provides an overview of experimental genetic methods to manipulate these synaptic connections – including the use of mutated or reengineered ion channels. He also discusses environmental and rearing conditions that phenocopy the genetic approaches that affect synaptic function.