The Neuromodulatory Mechanisms That Monoamines Control Simple and Complex Behaviors

Paul Rafael B Sabandal, University of Texas at El Paso


For my dissertation, I worked on three projects in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which is a well-established genetic animal model. The first project (Chapter 1) is to elucidate the neural, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying behavioral control named response inhibition. In this study, I identified that a particular subset of dopamine neurons, D1 dopamine receptors and the neural substrates crucial for response inhibition. Abnormal response inhibition is associated with the mental disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and addiction, This study may help enhance our understanding the pathogenesis mechanisms of aforementioned disorders. The second project (Chapter 2), which was conducted in collaboration with the lab member Gissel Aranda, is to understand the mechanism that dopamine mediates behavioral sensitization induced by chronic ethanol exposure. In this study, I identified that one of the dopamine receptors, Dopamine/Ecdysone receptor, plays a key role in sensitization to the disinhibition effect of ethanol. This study is likely to advance our understanding of the neurobiological mechanism underlying alcohol abuse and addiction. The third project (Chapter 3) is to elucidate the mechanism that the neurohormone octopamine controls female reproduction in collaboration with the lab member Junghwa Lim. We identified the octopamine receptor Oct 2R in the oviduct epithelium is essential for egg laying. This finding uncovers a novel target for effective control of harmful insects such as Drosophila suzukii causing serious damages in soft-skin fruits and mosquito-born diseases including Zika and Dengue fever. Overall, my dissertation research helps advance basic neuroscience and has biomedical implications.

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Recommended Citation

Sabandal, Paul Rafael B, "The Neuromodulatory Mechanisms That Monoamines Control Simple and Complex Behaviors" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10278040.