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Chem Senses. 2006 Sep;31(7):627-39. Epub 2006 Jun 8.

Behavioral responses to odorants in drosophila require nervous system expression of the beta integrin gene myospheroid.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, 23298, USA.


Integrins are cell adhesion molecules that mediate numerous developmental processes in addition to a variety of acute physiological events. Two reports implicate a Drosophila beta integrin, betaPS, in olfactory behavior. To further investigate the role of integrins in Drosophila olfaction, we used Gal4-driven expression of RNA interference (RNAi) transgenes to knock down expression of myospheroid (mys), the gene that encodes betaPS. Expression of mys-RNAi transgenes in the wing reduced betaPS immunostaining and produced morphological defects associated with loss-of-function mutations in mys, demonstrating that this strategy knocked down mys function. Expression of mys-RNAi transgenes in the antennae, antennal lobes, and mushroom bodies via two Gal4 lines, H24 and MT14, disrupted olfactory behavior but did not alter locomotor abilities or central nervous system structure. Olfactory behavior was normal in flies that expressed mys-RNAi transgenes via other Gal4 lines that specifically targeted the antennae, the projection neurons, the mushroom bodies, bitter and sweet gustatory neurons, or Pox neuro neurons. Our studies confirm that mys is important for the development or function of the Drosophila olfactory system. Additionally, our studies demonstrate that mys is required for normal behavioral responses to both aversive and attractive odorants. Our results are consistent with a model in which betaPS mediates events within the antennal lobes that influence odorant sensitivity.

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