Climbing assay (Drosophila)

Drosophila in the automated climbing wheel assay in the Zantiks LT.


Experimental setup

The optional rotating climbing wheel add-on is used to conducted climbing assays in the Zantiks LT. The wheel can be configured to hold up 32 vials of individually housed adult Drosophila. Information on how to assemble the climbing wheel stand and how to load the vials into the automated climbing wheel can be found in the LT manual

Climbing wheel
Flies individually placed into vials with the climbing wheel stand.

Example of the assets needed for the rotating climbing wheel assay


Experimental procedure

Flies are individually placed in the supplied 100h x 6.3w mm square vials and then placed vertically in the climbing wheel arenas. The climbing assay setup is based on an automated 180° rotation of the wheel holding the vials, rather than a manual knock on a bench.

Flies should be allowed an acclimation period before starting the experiment. After the rotation of the wheel, flies are allowed to climb for an amount of time specified by the experimenter. Each trial should have an intertrial interval before rotating the wheel again. 

Flies climbing over the target distance can be scored automatically by the Zantiks system through use of target zones.


Results/data output

The locomotor behaviour of the flies can be measured through total distance travelled in the vial. The can reflect general locomotion, motor/neurological phenotypes or be used as a measure of 'endurance'. The XY coordinate data can also be output by the Zantiks software.


Protocol scripts download

There is one script for the climbing assay for Drosophila.

There are two arena assets that are used for the climbing assay in the Automated, Rotating Climbing Wheel. One asset builds arenas for first position the subjects are in (prior to rotation) and one asset builds the arenas for the second position the subjects move to after rotation. The two assets together allow for consistent labelling and tracking of the correct subject in both positions.

  1. Drosophila_climbing_wheel.zs

Contact us if you need help adapting your script to your experimental needs.


You will need to upload the appropriate asset into the Asset directory on your Zantiks Control Console and ensure the correct asset name is in the LOAD(ZONES,"name_of_asset") command in the script.

See the Calibrating your Zantiks unit page and Asset building in the LT unit page for details on how to create assets customised to your system.