We have translated a powerful genetic tool, designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs), from mammalian systems to Drosophila melanogaster to selectively, rapidly, reversibly, and dose-dependently control behaviors and physiological processes in the fly. DREADDs are muscarinic acetylcholine G protein-coupled receptors evolved for loss of affinity to acetylcholine and for the ability to be fully activated by an otherwise biologically inert chemical, clozapine-N-oxide. We demonstrate its ability to control a variety of behaviors and processes in larvae and adults, including heart rate, sensory processing, diurnal behavior, learning and memory, and courtship. The advantages of this particular technology include the dose-responsive control of behaviors, the lack of a need for specialized equipment, and the capacity to remotely control signaling in essentially all neuronal and nonneuronal fly tissues.

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Published in Cell Reports, v. 4, no. 5, p. 1049-1059.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Movie S1. hM4Di Activation in the Larval Heart Disrupts Heart Rate, Related to Table 1.

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Document S1. Article plus Supplemental Information.

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