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J Neurobiol. 1999 Sep 5;40(3):288-301.

Nested transcripts of gap junction gene have distinct expression patterns.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, 610 KBT, Yale University, P.O. Box 208103, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The shaking B locus (shakB, or Passover) codes for structural molecules of gap junctions in Drosophila. This report describes the complex set of transcripts from the shakB locus. A nested set of five transcripts is described. The transcripts share 3' exons, but each has its own 5' exon. The transcripts are arrayed as a series in the genomic DNA stretching over 60 kb. The 5' end of each successive transcript lies further proximal on the chromosome. Each new transcript shares all the 3' exons with the one preceding it, but adds one or two more 5' exons. The different transcripts are expressed in a wide variety of locations in the nervous system and in non-neural tissues. Some tissues express more than one transcript, and the expression pattern of each is developmentally regulated. Within the adult central nervous system (CNS), these transcripts have an expression pattern that is restricted to the giant fiber system (GFS). The GFS is a small set of neurons which mediates the visually induced escape jump. shakB is required for function of the GFS electrical synapses. The transcript previously defined as active in the giant fiber is not, in fact, expressed in that cell. Instead, we find that another transcript, shakB(N3), and perhaps shakB(N4) as well, is expressed in the GFS; this transcript is not expressed elsewhere in the adult CNS. Two other transcripts, shakB(N1) and shakB(N2), are expressed in the optic lamina but not elsewhere in the CNS. This expression pattern explains the neurophysiological and behavioral defects in escape exhibited in mutants of shakB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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