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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 19;8(4):e61270. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061270. Print 2013.

The Drosophila BTB domain protein Jim Lovell has roles in multiple larval and adult behaviors.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA.

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  • PLoS One. 2013;8(8). doi:10.1371/annotation/88d89372-9fdc-48d7-83b3-26b61142a5e2.


Innate behaviors have their origins in the specification of neural fates during development. Within Drosophila, BTB (Bric-a-brac,Tramtrack, Broad) domain proteins such as Fruitless are known to play key roles in the neural differentiation underlying such responses. We previously identified a gene, which we have termed jim lovell (lov), encoding a BTB protein with a role in gravity responses. To understand more fully the behavioral roles of this gene we have investigated its function through several approaches. Transcript and protein expression patterns have been examined and behavioral phenotypes of new lov mutations have been characterized. Lov is a nuclear protein, suggesting a role as a transcriptional regulator, as for other BTB proteins. In late embryogenesis, Lov is expressed in many CNS and PNS neurons. An examination of the PNS expression indicates that lov functions in the late specification of several classes of sensory neurons. In particular, only two of the five abdominal lateral chordotonal neurons express Lov, predicting functional variation within this highly similar group. Surprisingly, Lov is also expressed very early in embryogenesis in ways that suggests roles in morphogenetic movements, amnioserosa function and head neurogenesis. The phenotypes of two new lov mutations that delete adjacent non-coding DNA regions are strikingly different suggesting removal of different regulatory elements. In lov(47) , Lov expression is lost in many embryonic neurons including the two lateral chordotonal neurons. lov(47) mutant larvae show feeding and locomotor defects including spontaneous backward movement. Adult lov(47) males perform aberrant courtship behavior distinguished by courtship displays that are not directed at the female. lov(47) adults also show more defective negative gravitaxis than the previously isolated lov(91Y) mutant. In contrast, lov(66) produces largely normal behavior but severe female sterility associated with ectopic lov expression in the ovary. We propose a negative regulatory role for the DNA deleted in lov(66) .

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