Real-Time Measurement of Stimulated Dopamine Release in Compartments of the Adult Drosophila melanogaster Mushroom Body

Anal Chem. 2020 Nov 3;92(21):14398-14407. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c02305. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly, is an exquisite model organism to understand neurotransmission. Dopaminergic signaling in the Drosophila mushroom body (MB) is involved in olfactory learning and memory, with different compartments controlling aversive learning (heel) vs. appetitive learning (medial tip). Here, the goal was to develop techniques to measure endogenous dopamine in compartments of the MB for the first time. We compared three stimulation methods: acetylcholine (natural stimulus), P2X2 (chemogenetics), and CsChrimson (optogenetics). Evoked dopamine release was measured with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in isolated adult Drosophila brains. Acetylcholine stimulated the largest dopamine release (0.40 μM) followed by P2X2 (0.14 μM) and CsChrimson (0.07 μM). With the larger acetylcholine and P2X2 stimulations, there were no regional or sex differences in dopamine release. However, with CsChrimson, dopamine release was significantly higher in the heel than the medial tip, and females had more dopamine than males. Michaelis-Menten modeling of the single-light pulse revealed no significant regional differences in Km, but the heel had a significantly lower Vmax (0.12 μM/s vs. 0.19 μM/s) and higher dopamine release (0.05 μM vs. 0.03 μM). Optogenetic experiments are challenging because CsChrimson is also sensitive to blue light used to activate green fluorescent protein, and thus, light exposure during brain dissection must be minimized. These experiments expand the toolkit for measuring endogenous dopamine release in Drosophila, introducing chemogenetic and optogenetic experiments for the first time. With a variety of stimulations, different experiments will help improve our understanding of neurochemical signaling in Drosophila.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology*
  • Mushroom Bodies / drug effects
  • Mushroom Bodies / metabolism*
  • Mushroom Bodies / radiation effects
  • Optogenetics
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2 / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X2
  • Acetylcholine
  • Dopamine