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The fly's lamina


 

For many years we have studied the visual system of flies, and are expert on the structure and development of the first neuropile, or lamina, of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We are particularly interested in the synaptic organisation of the few component cells, only ten or so, of each of the lamina's unit cartridges. These receive input from the terminals of six overlying photoreceptors, which are model synaptic terminals in which we are currently assaying the action of synaptic genes, from newly isolated mutants, and their expression patterns, from immunocytochemical labelling patterns. Mutants currently under examination include milton, endophilin, and VAP33, and a number of uncharacterised new mutants isolated in a recent screen using a modification of the EGUF/hid method.

Two photoreceptor terminals (red) entwined by three neurites from an amacrine cell reconstructed from 180 serial electron micrographs (from the work of former graduate students Dr. S.D. O'Neil and Ms. Xiangqun Hu).
A reconstructed stack of confocal images of a wholemount brain immunolabelled with an antibody against synaptotagmin (from the work of a former postdoctoral fellow Dr. X.J. Sun).