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Commun Integr Biol. 2008 Jul;1(1):14-17.

Accelerated bang recovery in Drosophila genderblind mutants.

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Department of Biological Sciences; University of Illinois at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Cystine-glutamate transporters import cystine into cells for glutathione synthesis and protection from oxidative stress, but also export significant amounts of glutamate. Increasing evidence suggests that 'ambient extracellular glutamate' secreted by cystine-glutamate transporters in the nervous system modulates glutamatergic synapse strength and behavior. To date, the only cystine-glutamate transporter mutants examined behaviorally are Drosophila genderblind mutants. These animals contain loss-of-function mutations in the 'genderblind' gene, which encodes an xCT subunit essential for cystine-glutamate transporter function. Genderblind was named based on a mutant courtship phenotype: male genderblind mutants are attracted to normally aversive male pheromones and thus court and attempt to copulate with both male and female partners equally. However, genderblind protein is expressed in many parts of the fly brain and thus might be expected to also regulate other behaviors, including behaviors not related to male courtship or chemosensation. Here, we show that genderblind mutants display faster recovery and increased negative geotaxis after strong mechanical stimuli (e.g., they climb faster and farther after vial banging). This phenotype is displayed by both males and females, consistent with strong genderblind expression in both sexes.

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