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Science. 1998 Sep 11;281(5383):1686-90.

Disruption of a neuropeptide gene, flp-1, causes multiple behavioral defects in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Neuropeptides serve as important signaling molecules in the nervous system. The FMRFamide (Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-amide)-related neuropeptide gene family in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is composed of at least 18 genes that may encode 53 distinct FMRFamide-related peptides. Disruption of one of these genes, flp-1, causes numerous behavioral defects, including uncoordination, hyperactivity, and insensitivity to high osmolarity. Conversely, overexpression of flp-1 results in the reciprocal phenotypes. On the basis of epistasis analysis, flp-1 gene products appear to signal upstream of a G protein-coupled second messenger system. These results demonstrate that varying the levels of FLP-1 neuropeptides can profoundly affect behavior and that members of this large neuropeptide gene family are not functionally redundant in C. elegans.

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