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Fly (Austin). 2012 Jan-Mar;6(1):57-67. doi: 10.4161/fly.18570. Epub 2012 Jan 1.

Effect of sodium channel abundance on Drosophila development, reproductive capacity and aging.

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Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT, USA.


The voltage-gated Na (+) channels (VGSC) are complex membrane proteins responsible for generation and propagation of the electrical signals through the brain, the skeletal muscle and the heart. The levels of sodium channels affect behavior and physical activity. This is illustrated by the maleless mutant allele (mle (napts)) in Drosophila, where the decreased levels of voltage-gated Na(+) channels cause temperature-sensitive paralysis. Here, we report that mle (napts) mutant flies exhibit developmental lethality, decreased fecundity and increased neurodegeneration. The negative effect of decreased levels of Na(+) channels on development and ts-paralysis was more pronounced at 18 and 29°C than at 25°C, suggesting particular sensitivity of the mle (napts) flies to temperatures above and below normal environmental conditions. Similarly, longevity of mle (napts) flies was unexpectedly short at 18 and 29°C compared with flies heterozygous for the mle (napts) mutation. Developmental lethality and neurodegeneration of mle (napts) flies was partially rescued by increasing the dosage of para, confirming a vital role of Na(+) channels in development, longevity and neurodegeneration of flies and their adaptation to temperatures.

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