Recording from Fly Taste Sensilla

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2023 Apr 3;2023(4):pdb.prot108064. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot108064.


Gustatory systems sense chemicals upon contact and provide a model to investigate how these stimuli are encoded to inform various behavioral decisions including choice of foods, egg-laying sites, and mating partners. Multiple organs in the body house peripheral gustatory sensory neurons, the axons of which project to discrete regions in the subesophageal zone and ventral ganglion, representing both the location and quality of the taste stimulus. Taste neurons are broadly divided into subpopulations associated with either positive or negative behavioral valence, each expressing combinations of taste receptors-in some cases, more than 30 receptors-encoded by one or more chemosensory gene families that together determine their chemical response properties. Drosophila provides a powerful model to study gustatory coding because a majority of the taste sensory units (sensilla) are present in external taste organs (labellum and legs) and are accessible for electrophysiological analysis of tastant-evoked responses. Moreover, a large body of work on the basic characteristics of individual taste neurons housed in a sensillum, as well as on functional surveys of entire taste organs, provides a foundation for investigating further questions about taste coding, adaptability, and evolution. This protocol describes how to perform recordings of stimulus-evoked activity from Drosophila taste sensilla covering the basics of setting up the electrophysiology rig and stimulus-delivery device, sample preparation, and performing and analyzing the recordings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila
  • Neurons
  • Sense Organs / physiology
  • Sensilla*
  • Taste* / genetics