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

Acute induction of conserved synaptic signaling pathways in Drosophila melanogaster.

Analyses of early molecular and cellular events associated with long-term plasticity remain hampered in Drosophila by the lack of an acute procedure to activate signal transduction pathways, gene expression patterns, and other early cellular events associated with long-term synaptic change. Here we describe the development and first use of such a technique. Bursts of neural activity induced in Drosophila comatosets and CaP60A Kumts mutants, with conditional defects in N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion factor 1 and sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase, respectively, result in persistent (>4 hr) activation of neuronal extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). ERK activation at the larval neuromuscular junction coincides with rapid reduction of synaptic Fasciclin II; in soma, nuclear translocation of activated ERK occurs together with increased transcription of the immediate-early genes Fos and c/EBP (CCAAT element binding protein). The effect of "seizure-stimulation" on ERK activation requires neural activity and is mediated through activation of MEK (MAPK/erk kinase), the MAPKK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase) that functions upstream of ERK. Our results (1) provide direct proof for the conservation of synaptic signaling pathways in arthropods, (2) demonstrate the utility of a new genetic tool for analysis of synaptic plasticity in Drosophila, and (3) potentially enable new proteomic and genomic analyses of activity-regulated molecules in an important model organism.[1]


  1. Acute induction of conserved synaptic signaling pathways in Drosophila melanogaster. Hoeffer, C.A., Sanyal, S., Ramaswami, M. J. Neurosci. (2003) [Pubmed]
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