Tudor, C., Waner, L., Stonebreaker, J., Newell, J., Dallman, J.E., Prakash, P, & Mueller, T. (2019, October). A custom movement tracking software for behavioral analyses of an adult zebrafish shank3-mutant model of autism. Poster session presented at the Annual Society for Neuroscience Conference, Chicago, USA.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects more than 1% of the world population. ASD is characterized by social and cognitive deficits, aberrant fear responses and altered sensory processing. The pathogenesis of ASD is not well understood because it involves complex interaction between genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. Zebrafish due to its genetic amenability and overall conserved vertebrate specific brain organization represents an increasingly important model organism to study neural circuits of behavior in health and disease. Using zebrafish as a model, our overall objective aims to dissect the neural circuitry underlying autistic characteristics with a focus on odor-driven behaviors and sensory processing. Towards this aim, we have generated a software tool for movement tracking behavior applied to a recently established zebrafish shank3a/bdouble mutant model of autism. Specifically, we compare normal wt versus mutant models in behavioral paradigms of fear conditioning and social-approach behavior. The results of this project will form the foundation for detailed neural circuit analyses focusing on aberrant behavioral output as it occurs in patients with autism.