Effect of Ethanol on the Hangover Gene and Synaptic Growth in Drosophila melanogaster
In this project, we aimed to answer the question: ‘How will the development of synaptic growth in the neuromuscular junction and expression of the hangover gene in Drosophila melanogaster be affected by ethanol exposure?’ Exposure to ethanol is significant to the hangover gene (hang) because, among numerous other stressors, hang pertains to rapid ethanol tolerance through a cellular stress pathway. The early development of neuromuscular junctions is also regulated by the expression of hang. It was hypothesized that exposure of Drosophila larvae to ethanol would increase expression of the hangover gene and decrease their mobility due to stunted synaptic growth at neuromuscular junctions. To test our hypothesis, we exposed an experimental group of Drosophila larvae to 6.5% ethanol for one week. At the end of the treatment period, stage three larvae were selected from both the control and experimental cultures to undergo a mobility assay. Upon completion of the behavioral assays, RNA was extracted from the larvae and quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) was performed on both control and treatment groups to measure the expression of the hangover gene. It was predicted that ethanol exposure would increase the expression of the hangover gene and that Drosophila larvae in the treatment group would have decreased mobility.