Semester of Graduation

summer 2019


Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



A complete understanding of the physiological pathways critical for proper function of the insect nervous system is still lacking. The recent development of potent and selective small-molecule modulators of insect inward rectifier potassium channels has enabled the interrogation of the physiological role and toxicological potential of Kir channels within various insect tissue systems. Therefore, we aimed to highlight the physiological and functional role of neural Kir channels in the central nervous system, muscular system, and neuromuscular system through pharmacological and genetic manipulations. Our data provide significant evidence that Drosophila neural systems rely on the inward conductance of K+ ions for proper function since pharmacological inhibition and genetic ablation of neural Kir channels yielded dramatic alterations of the CNS spike discharge frequency and broadening and reduced amplitude of the evoked EPSP at the neuromuscular junction. Based on these data, we conclude that neural Kir channels in insects 1) are critical for proper function of the insect nervous system, 2) represents an unexplored physiological pathway that is likely to shape the understanding of neuronal signaling, maintenance of membrane potentials, and maintenance of the ionic balance of insects, and 3) are capable of being an insecticide target to induce acute toxicity to insects through neurological poisoning.



Committee Chair

Swale, Daniel



Included in

Entomology Commons