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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Courtship and other behaviors affected by a heat-sensitive, molecularly novel mutation in the cacophony calcium-channel gene of Drosophila.

The cacophony (cac) locus of Drosophila melanogaster, which encodes a calcium-channel subunit, has been mutated to cause courtship-song defects or abnormal responses to visual stimuli. However, the most recently isolated cac mutant was identified as an enhancer of a comatose mutation's effects on general locomotion. We analyzed the cac(TS2) mutation in terms of its intragenic molecular change and its effects on behaviors more complex than the fly's elementary ability to move. The molecular etiology of this mutation is a nucleotide substitution that causes a proline-to-serine change in a region of the polypeptide near its EF hand. Given that this motif is involved in channel inactivation, it was intriguing that cac(TS2) males generate song pulses containing larger-than-normal numbers of cycles--provided that such males are exposed to an elevated temperature. Similar treatments caused only mild visual-response abnormalities and generic locomotor sluggishness. These results are discussed in the context of calcium-channel functions that subserve certain behaviors and of defects exhibited by the original cacophony mutant. Despite its different kind of amino-acid substitution, compared with that of cac(TS2), cac(S) males sing abnormally in a manner that mimics the new mutant's heat-sensitive song anomaly.[1]


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