Researchers at the University of Münster have developed a new method for visualizing the heartbeat of living fruit-fly pupae and automatically recording the pulse frequency. The researchers involved are from the Computer Science Department and the Institute for Neuro- and Behavioural Biology.
Looking into a tiny fly’s heart: researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence at the University of Münster have developed a new method for visualizing the heartbeat of living fruit-fly pupae and automatically recording the pulse frequency.
The system has a number of benefits: the images are produced with a camera, without any elaborate microscopy. The technique is non-invasive – in other words, it can all be done on a living creature without any dissection being necessary. The method makes it possible to observe several fly pupae, which are about three millimetres in length, simultaneously.
The equipment making it possible to take a look at a fly’s heart is the so-called FIM table. This was developed jointly by researchers from two teams – that led by Prof. Xiaoyi Jiang at Münster University’s Computer Science Department, and the one headed by Prof. Christian Klämbt at the Institute for Neuro- and Behavioural Biology.
The table with the Perspex plate actually has a special purpose: to automatically record and evaluate the movements of fly larvae. For biologists, this information on behaviour is important, for example in order to draw conclusions about the functions of genes.
Observing behaviour wasn’t all that was done, however. As fly larvae are translucent, the inner organs can be recognized on the FIM table, at least partially. This is the characteristic on which the current heartbeat study is based – as well as on a stroke of luck.
“At some point we had larvae on the table which turned over onto their backs. This enabled us to see that in this position the heart could be recognized using our FIM technology,” recalls computer scientist Dr. Benjamin Risse, now a professor and team leader at the Computer Science Department. He had already designed the observation table – which is now patented – while he was engaged on his doctoral dissertation.
The researchers systematically pursued their work on visualizing the heartbeat – using fly pupae, which are motionless and thus more suitable for studying the pulse. They developed algorithms which automatically recognize and quantify the pulsating movement of a fly’s heart in the video images. For observation purposes the researchers lay the animals belly-up on the FIM table when they are at an early stage of development, as so-called pre-pupae.
The Drosophila melanogaster fruit-fly is an important object of research in biology. Although the fly’s heart is structured very differently than in mammals, there are fundamental aspects in their development and functions which are to similar to those in humans. This means that examining flies can help towards a better understanding of cardiovascular diseases in humans.
The fly’s development from an egg to a fully grown insect takes about ten days. Just one day after an egg has been laid, the larva hatches. In the next few days it grows and sheds its skin several times. After about five days the mobile larva becomes an immobile pupa. Within another four days the pupa undergoes a metamorphosis, and in the end the fully developed fly hatches from the pupa.
For the FIM table, the so-called frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) of light is used. It is this which gives rise to the project name “FTIR-based imaging method”, or FIM. The method is based on light reflection within the Perspex plate and on the influence on the reflection on the part of the organisms being observed.
Berh D. et al.: Automatic non-invasive heartbeat quantification of Drosophila pupae. Computers in Biology and Medicine Volume 93, 1 February 2018, Pages 189-199; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2017.12.017
https://video.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/video/wwu/news/heart_beat.mp4 Video: Fruit-fly's heartbeat (Copyright: Dimitri Berh, Benjamin Risse)
http://fim.uni-muenster.de About FIM
Dr. Christina Heimken | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure
24.05.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
XXL computed tomography: a new dimension in X-ray analysis
17.05.2018 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences