Büschges Group

The research group studies the neural underpinnings of locomotor behavior in animals, i.e. flying, swimming, or walking. Presently, we focus on the generation of terrestrial locomotion, i.e. walking, in insects. In the fruit fly and the stick insect we analyze (a) descending control of initiation and maintenance of walking, (d) role and processing of proprioceptive feedback in premotor circuits of the ventral nerve cord in the generation of leg movements, and (c) the contribution of sensory and central signals in the generation of task specific interleg coordination in walking.


Our methodological approaches span from the kinematic analysis of locomotor behavior to the investigation of single component neurons in the insect leg muscle control system. We use high-speed videographic analysis of locomotor behavior in freely or tethered walking insects. To monitor neural locomotor activity we combine reduced and semi-intact preparations with electromyographic and extra- and intracellular recordings.

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5 selected publications

  1. Feng K, Sen R, Minegishi R, Dübbert M, Bockemühl T, Büschges A, Dickson BJ (2020). Distributed control of motor circuits for backward walking in Drosophila. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19936-x
  2. Bidaye SS, Laturney M, Chang AK, Liu Y, Bockemühl T, Büschges A, Scott K. (2020) Two Brain Pathways Initiate Distinct Forward Walking Programs in Drosophila. Neuron. Aug 12:S0896-6273(20)30576-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.07.032
  3. von Twickel A, Guschlbauer C, Hooper SL, Büschges A (2019) Swing Velocity Profiles of Small Limbs Can Arise from Transient Passive Torques of the Antagonist Muscle Alone. Curr Biol. 2019 Jan 7;29(1):1-12.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.016
  4. Liessem S, Kowatschew D, Dippel S, Blanke A, Korsching S, Guschlbauer C, Hooper SL, Predel R, Büschges A (2021). Neuromodulation can be simple: myoinhibitory peptide, contained in dedicated regulatory pathways, is the only neurally-mediated peptide modulator of stick insect leg muscle. J Neurosci JN-RM-0188-20. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0188-20.2021
  5. Berg EM, Hooper SL, Schmidt J, and Büschges A (2015). A leg-local neural mechanism mediates the decision to search in stick insect Current Biology 25, 2012-2017