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Genetics. 1998 Jul;149(3):1407-26.

Courtship and visual defects of cacophony mutants reveal functional complexity of a calcium-channel alpha1 subunit in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254, USA.


We show by molecular analysis of behavioral and physiological mutants that the Drosophila Dmca1A calcium-channel alpha1 subunit is encoded by the cacophony (cac) gene and that nightblind-A and lethal(1)L13 mutations are allelic to cac with respect to an expanded array of behavioral and physiological phenotypes associated with this gene. The cacS mutant, which exhibits defects in the patterning of courtship lovesong and a newly revealed but subtle abnormality in visual physiology, is mutated such that a highly conserved phenylalanine (in one of the quasi-homologous intrapolypeptide regions called IIIS6) is replaced by isoleucine. The cacH18 mutant exhibits defects in visual physiology (including complete unresponsiveness to light in certain genetic combinations) and visually mediated behaviors; this mutant (originally nbAH18) has a stop codon in an alternative exon (within the cac ORF), which is differentially expressed in the eye. Analysis of the various courtship and visual phenotypes associated with this array of cac mutants demonstrates that Dmca1A calcium channels mediate multiple, separable biological functions; these correlate in part with transcript diversity generated via alternative splicing.

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