Tower, Agrawal, Alagappan, Bell, Demeter, Havanoor, Hegde, Jia, Kothawade, Lin, Nadig, Rajashekharappa, Rao, Rao, Sancheti, Saria, Shantharamu, Sharma, Tadepalli, Varma (2019) Behavioral and molecular markers of death in Drosophila melanogaster Experimental gerontology 126() 110707


Fly movement was tracked through 3-dimensional (3D) space as the fly died, using either reflected visible light, reflected infrared (IR) light, or fly GFP fluorescence. Behaviors measured included centrophobism, negative geotaxis, velocity, and total activity. In addition, frequency of directional heading changes (FDHC) was calculated as a measure of erratic movement. Nine middle-aged flies were tracked as they died during normal aging, and fifteen young flies were tracked as they died from dehydration/starvation stress. Episodes of increased FDHC were observed 0-8 h prior to death for the majority of the flies. FDHC was also increased with age in flies with neuronal expression of a human Abeta42 protein fragment associated with Alzheimer's disease. Finally, green autofluorescence appeared in the eye and body immediately prior to and coincident with death, and fluorescence of GFP targeted to the retina increased immediately prior to and coincident with death. The results suggest the potential utility of FDHC, green autofluorescence, and retinal GFP as markers of neuronal malfunction and imminent death. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.