Vaadia, R.D. et al. Curr Biol 29, 935–944 (2019)
Swept confocally aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy is a multispectral, high-speed technique to image individual cells in behaving animals. Its developers at Columbia University have used it to broadly record neurons in crawling Drosophila larvae in prior studies. In their most recent report, they use SCAPE microscopy to home in on a specific type of neuron, proprioceptors. These neurons provide feedback about body position and are thought to be activated by different types of motion, though recordings in soft-bodied organisms such as fly larvae hadn’t been achieved before. With tweaks made to improve resolution and widen the field of view to capture the entire animal, the team imaged tagged proprioceptors as the larvae crawled and moved its head. Activity of different proprioceptors was sequential, suggesting different cells are responsible for monitoring deformation of the body wall.