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Neuron. 2011 Oct 20;72(2):316-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.08.032.

A putative vesicular transporter expressed in Drosophila mushroom bodies that mediates sexual behavior may define a neurotransmitter system.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Hatos Center for Neuropharmacology and Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 695 Charles Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1761, USA.

Abstract

Vesicular transporters are required for the storage of all classical and amino acid neurotransmitters in synaptic vesicles. Some neurons lack known vesicular transporters, suggesting additional neurotransmitter systems remain unidentified. Insect mushroom bodies (MBs) are critical for several behaviors, including learning, but the neurotransmitters released by the intrinsic Kenyon cells (KCs) remain unknown. Likewise, KCs do not express a known vesicular transporter. We report the identification of a novel Drosophila gene portabella (prt) that is structurally similar to known vesicular transporters. Both larval and adult brains express PRT in the KCs of the MBs. Additional PRT cells project to the central complex and optic ganglia. prt mutation causes an olfactory learning deficit and an unusual defect in the male's position during copulation that is rescued by expression in KCs. Because prt is expressed in neurons that lack other known vesicular transporters or neurotransmitters, it may define a previously unknown neurotransmitter system responsible for sexual behavior and a component of olfactory learning.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22017990
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3201771
Free PMC Article

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