Ph.D. University of Oregon, Eugene
B.A. U.C. San Diego, La Jolla
Areas of Interest
We are investigating the neural mechanisms underlying the generation of behavior in simpler invertebrate "model" systems. Currently, we are studying the structure and function of neurons in the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis and the hawkmoth, Manduca sexta. These preparations were chosen for study because individual neurons can be identified from animal to animal and followed through development.
Many of our research projects involve an examination of how neurons change during development to give rise to adult-specific behaviors. As Manduca develops from the larval to adult form, dramatic changes in its nervous system are observed. Some larval neurons (not needed by the adult) undergo developmentally programmed cell death, while others are retained and re-modeled; their morphology and synaptic contacts become altered. In addition, many new neurons are generated de novo and are used only in the adult stage. Our goals are to understand how all of these changes, which are under hormonal regulation, contribute to the "construction" of particular adult behaviors. We have focused on the re-use of larval interneurons and the cellular mechanisms that enable "old" neurons to be incorporated into the adult nervous system to generate new behaviors.
Our methods include: intra- and extracellular electrophysiological techniques, intracellular dye injection, laser scanning confocal microscopy, immunocytochemistry, and behavioral analysis.
Collins M and Mesce KA (2020) Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation and the Confounds of Intracellular Electrophysiological Investigation. eNeuro 7(4):ENEURO.0213-20.2020.
Mesce KA and Newhoff M (2020) Small Steps and Larger Strides in Understanding the Neural Bases of Crawling in the Medicinal Leech. In: Whelan and Sharples eds.: Neural Control of Movement: Model Systems and Tools to Study Locomotor Function, Elsevier.
Auletta A, Rue MCP, HarleyCM, Mesce KA (2019)The Identification, Characterization, and Anatomical Distribution Pattern of Catecholaminergic Neurons in The Central Nervous Systems of Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae). J Comp Neurol, Jul 25.
Mesce KA, Alania M, Gaudry Q, Puhl JG (2018) The Stomatogastric Nervous System of the Medicinal Leech: Its Anatomy, Intrinsic Neurons and Association with Aminergic Neurons. Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(7): 1-10 (Cover).
Puhl JG, BigelowAW, Rue MCP, Mesce KA(2018) Functional Recovery of a Locomotor Network after Injury: Plasticity beyond the Central Nervous System. eNeuro, 2 July 2018, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0195-18.2018. (Selected as Editor’s choice).
Northcutt AJ, Fischer EK, Puhl JG, Mesce KA and Schulz DJ (2018) An Annotated CNS Transcriptome of the Medicinal Leech, Hirudo verbana: De Novo Sequencing to Characterize Genes Associated with Nervous System Activity. PLoS ONE 13(7):e0201206, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201206.
Tedjakumala SR, Rouquette J, Boizeau M-L, Mesce KA, Hotier L, Massou I, Giurfa M (2017) A Tyrosine-Hydroxylase Characterization of Dopaminergic Neurons in the Honey Bee Brain. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 11(47): 1-17.
Harley CM, Reilly MG, Stewart C, Schlegel C, Morley E, Puhl JG, Nagel C, Crisp KM, Mesce KA. 2015. Compensatory plasticity restores locomotion following chronic removal of descending projections. Journal of Neurophysiology 113:3610-3622.
Thompson KT, Harley CM, Barthel GM, Sanders MA, Mesce KA. 2015. Plasmon resonance and the imaging of metal-impregnated neurons with the laser scanning confocal microscope. eLIFE, in press.
Olson, JF, Moon RD, Kells SA, Mesce K.A (2014) Morphology, Ultrastructure and Functional Roles of Antennal Sensilla that Mediate Off-Host Aggregation by the Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius. Arthropod Structure & Development 43(2):117-22.
Puhl, J.G., Masino, M., Kristan, W.B, Mesce, K.A. 2012 Necessary, Sufficient and Permissive: A Single Locomotor Command Neuron Important for Intersegmental Coordination. J Neurosci 32(49):17646-17657.
Crisp, KM, Gallagher, BR, Mesce, KA. 2012. Mechanisms Contributing to the Dopamine Induction of Crawl-Like Bursting in Leech Motoneurons. J Exp Biol 215: 3028-3036.
J. E. Ferguson, C. Boldt, J. G. Puhl, T. W. Stigen, J. C. Jackson, K. M. Crisp, K. A. Mesce, T. I. Netoff, A. D. Redish (2012) “Nanowires precisely grown on the ends of microwire electrodes permit the recording of intracellular action potentials within deeper neural structures” Nanomedicine 8(4):427-433.
Mustard, J A., V. Vergoz, K. A. Mesce, K. A. Klukas, et al. 2011. Dopamine signaling in the bee. Honeybee Neurobiol. and Behav. 3:199-209.
Mesce, K., and J. Pierce-Shimomura. 2010. Shared Strategies for Behavioral Switching: Understanding How Locomotor Patterns are Turned on and Off. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience 4:49. Link to article
Puhl, J. G., and K. A. Mesce. 2010. Keeping It Together: Mechanisms of Intersegmental Coordination for a Flexible Locomotor Behavior. Journal of Neuroscience 30:2373. Link to article
Swanson, J. A. I., B. Torto, S. Kells, K. Mesce, J. Tumlinson, and M. Spivak. 2009. Odorants that induce hygienic behavior in honeybees: identification of volatile compounds in chalkbrood-infected honeybee larvae. J. Chem. Ecol. 35:1108-1116. Link to article
Himes, K. E., K. A. Klukas, S. E. Fahrbach, and K. A. Mesce. 2008. Hormone-dependent expression of fasciclin II during ganglionic migration and fusion in the ventral nerve cord of the moth Manduca sexta. J. Comp. Neurol. 509:319-339. Link to article
Puhl, J. G., and K. A. Mesce. 2008. Dopamine activates the motor pattern for crawling in the medicinal leech. J. Neurosci. 28:4192-4200. Link to article
Mesce, K. A., T. Esch, and W. B. Kristan Jr. 2008. Cellular substrates of action selection: a cluster of higher-order descending neurons shapes body posture and locomotion. J. Comp. Physiol. A. Neuroethol Sens. Neural Behav. Physiol. 194:469-481. Link to article
Crisp, K. M., and K. A. Mesce. 2006. Beyond the central pattern generator: amine modulation of decision-making neural pathways descending from the brain of the medicinal leech. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:1746-1756.
Goode, K., Z. Huber, K. A. Mesce, and M. Spivak. 2006. Hygienic behavior of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) is independent of sucrose responsiveness and foraging ontogeny. Hormones and Behavior 49:391-397.
Crisp, K. M., and K. A. Mesce. 2004. A cephalic projection neuron involved in locomotion is dye coupled to the dopaminergic neural network in the medicinal leech. Journal of Experimental Biology 207:4535-4542.
Crisp, K. M., and K. A. Mesce. 2003. To swim or not to swim: regional effects of serotonin, octopamine and amine mixtures in the medicinal leech. Journal of Comparative Physiology A Sensory Neural & Behavioral Physiology 189:461-470.
Morgan Newhoff, 2020
Anthony Auletta, 2019
Joshua Puhl, 2011
Katherine Himes, 2007
Kevin M. Crisp, 2004
Rebecca Masterman, 2000 (co-advised with Marla Spivak)
Andre DeLorme, 1998
Laura Sisola Gilchrist, 1996
Therese Amos, 1993
Kathy Jez, 2005 (co-advised with Marla Spivak)
Margaret Hake, 1992
Cindy Harley, 2012-present
Magda Alania, 2007
Srinivas Chinta, 1999-2000
Sujaya Udayagiri, 1992