Jaeyoung K. – BASIS Chandler

BASIS Chandler Senior Jaeyoung K.

The Apis mellifera GABAa Receptor (Rdl) in the Olfactory Circuit in the Honey Bee Brain

Project/blog link: The Apis mellifera GABAa Receptor (Rdl) in the Olfactory Circuit in the Honey Bee Brain
BASIS Advisor: Dr. Karyn Fought
Internship location: ASU School of Life Sciences
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Brian Smith , Trustees of ASU Professor, School of Life Sciences

Project Abstract

The work in the Smith Lab at Arizona State University is part of an ongoing project: “The Apis mellifera GABAa Receptor (Rdl) in the Olfactory Circuit in the Honey Bee Brain.” The Smith Lab investigates processes of learning and memory associated with olfactory cues. The lab uses behavioral analyses, fluorescence microscopy and molecular biology techniques on insect and mouse model animals. Through previous investigations the researchers established the importance of inhibitory signals, particularly from GABAa receptors, in the honey bee's ability to process olfactory information. The lab developed the knockdown experiments in which the GABAa receptor level can be decreased. In the behavioral paradigm, the Smith Lab notably takes advantage of the Proboscis Extension feeding Reflex (PER) while conditioning bees to associate certain scents (odor) with the presence of food (sucrose). The research in the behavioral experiments involved observing the changes in the bees' behavior toward odors by using the PER technique on bees with low versus normal levels of GABAa receptors. Processing of olfactory information in bee brains begins in the antennal lobe (AL). The presence of GABAa receptors in the AL was already established in the Smith Lab. However, it was not known what type of antennal lobe neurons express the receptor. Work in the neuroanatomical experiment involved identifying AL neurons that express the GABAa receptor by using both neuronal tracers to label different types of AL neurons and immunofluorescence techniques with anti-GABAa receptor antibodies.

The Apis mellifera GABAa Receptor (Rdl) in the Olfactory Circuit in the Honey Bee Brain