Effects of transgenic expression of botulinum toxins in Drosophila
Backhaus P, Langenhan T, Neuser K (2016)
J Neurogenet 30:22-31
Clostridial neurotoxins (botulinum toxins and tetanus toxin) disrupt neurotransmitter release by cleaving neuronal SNARE proteins. We generated transgenic flies allowing for conditional expression of different botulinum toxins and evaluated their potential as tools for the analysis of synaptic and neuronal network function in Drosophila melanogaster by applying biochemical assays and behavioral analysis. On the biochemical level, cleavage assays in cultured Drosophila S2 cells were performed and the cleavage efficiency was assessed via western blot analysis. We found that each botulinum toxin cleaves its Drosophila SNARE substrate but with variable efficiency. To investigate the cleavage efficiency in vivo, we examined lethality, larval peristaltic movements and vision dependent motion behavior of adult Drosophila after tissue-specific conditional botulinum toxin expression. Our results show that botulinum toxin type B and botulinum toxin type C represent effective alternatives to established transgenic effectors, i.e. tetanus toxin, interfering with neuronal and non-neuronal cell function in Drosophila and constitute valuable tools for the analysis of synaptic and network function.