Presynaptic mechanisms of general anaesthesia in the fly brain (2010–2012)
It is still not known how general anaesthetics induce loss of consciousness. We propose a strategy using the genetic model Drosophila melanogaster to investigate a novel hypothesis: that synaptic release is the primary target mechanism of general anaesthetics, and that synaptic coordination and whole-brain coherence is the target process of these drugs. We will design strategic mutations in the synaptic release machinery to modulate anaesthesia phenotypes, which will be screened behaviourally and then characterized by electrophysiology. By manipulating synaptic function in the anaesthetized fly brain we will be directly addressing how local effects at synapses translate to global brain phenomena such as loss of perception.