Whole-central nervous system functional imaging in larval Drosophila

William Lemon, Stefan Pulver*, Burkhard Hockendorf, Katie McDole, Kristin Branson, Jeremy Freeman, Phillip Keller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding how the brain works in tight concert with the rest of the central nervous system (CNS) hinges upon knowledge of coordinated activity patterns across the whole CNS. We present a method for measuring activity in an entire, non-transparent CNS with high spatiotemporal resolution. We combine a light-sheet microscope capable of simultaneous multi-view imaging at volumetric speeds 25-fold faster than the state-of-the-art, a whole-CNS imaging assay for the isolated Drosophila larval CNS and a computational framework for analysing multi-view, whole-CNS calcium imaging data. We image both brain and ventral nerve cord, covering the entire CNS at 2 or 5 Hz with two- or one-photon excitation, respectively. By mapping network activity during fictive behaviours and quantitatively comparing high-resolution whole-CNS activity maps across individuals, we predict functional connections between CNS regions and reveal neurons in the brain that identify type and temporal state of motor programs executed in the ventral nerve cord.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7924
Number of pages16
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2015


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