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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2009;(191):423-43. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-68964-5_18.

cGMP-dependent protein kinase as a modifier of behaviour.

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Department of Biology, University of Toronto, Mississauga, ON, L5L1C6, Canada.


The importance of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) to the modulation of behavioural phenotypes has become increasingly clear in recent decades. The effects of PKG on behaviour have been studied in diverse taxa from perspectives as varied as ethology, evolution, genetics and neuropharmacology. The genetic variation of the Drosophila melanogaster gene, foraging (for), has provided a fertile model for examining natural variation in a single major gene influencing behaviour. Concurrent studies in other invertebrates and mammals suggest that PKG is an important signalling molecule with varied influences on behaviour and a large degree of pleiotropy and plasticity. Comparing these cross-taxa effects suggests that there are several potentially overlapping behavioural modalities in which PKG signalling acts to influence behaviours which include feeding, learning, stress and biological rhythms. More in-depth comparative analyses across taxa of the similarities and differences of the influence of PKG on behaviour may provide powerful mechanistic explications of the evolution of behaviour.

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