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J Neurogenet. 1992 Sep;8(3):125-55.

No-bridge of Drosophila melanogaster: portrait of a structural brain mutant of the central complex.

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  • 1Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften, Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Würzburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The mutant no-bridge (nobKS49) has its name from a structural defect in the protocerebral bridge of the central complex. This rod-shaped neuropil in nobKS49 has a large gap at the sagittal midplane, with some of the missing material accumulated more laterally. Mutant nob flies have a reduced maximal and average walking speed. Leg coordination is disturbed during turning but not while walking straight. Motivation for walking is low and steps are small due to slow forward swinging of the legs. Flies spontaneously may pass into an autistic (and possibly spastic) state in which they can move their legs and even perform cleaning movements but do not walk or fly. They spontaneously recover if left undisturbed. Gynandromorph experiments place the focus of the walking defects into the head. Mutant flies have a reduced tendency to escape when mechanically stimulated. In a brightly lit arena they do not avoid a black square above the horizon and they are negatively phototactic. In tethered flight optomotor responses are normal but the amplitude of spontaneous torque modulations as well as the number of torque spikes are reduced. If a single black bar is slowly rotated around the fly, the normal response pattern is observed. It vanishes, however, at moderately fast angular velocity at which the wild type still is fully responsible. The behavioral defects support the notion that the protocerebral bridge is part of a higher center for the regulation of behavior.

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