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Dev Dyn. 2007 Apr;236(4):991-9.

Gain of affinity point mutation in the serotonin receptor gene 5-HT2Dro accelerates germband extension movements during Drosophila gastrulation.

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Univ Nancy, Faculté des sciences et techniques, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


Serotonin (5-HT) not only works as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system, but also as a morphogenetic factor during early embryogenesis. In Drosophila, a previous report showed that embryos that lack the 5-HT(2Dro) receptor locus, display abnormal gastrulation movements. In this work, we screened for point mutations in the 5-HT(2Dro) receptor gene. We identified one point mutation that generates a gain of serotonin affinity for the receptor and affects germband extension: 5-HT(2Dro) (C1644). Embryos homozygous for this point mutation display a fourfold increase in the maximal speed of ectodermal cell movements during the rapid phase of germband extension. Homozygous 5-HT(2Dro) (C1644) embryos present a cuticular phenotype, including a total lack of denticle belt. Identification of this gain of function mutation shows the participation of serotonin in the regulation of the cell speed movements during the germband extension and suggests a role of serotonin in the regulation of cuticular formation during early embryogenesis.

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