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J Neurogenet. 1989 Aug;5(4):215-28.

Altered synaptic transmission in Drosophila hyperkinetic mutants.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Synaptic transmission in Drosophila can be altered by mutations in specific genes. For example, mutations in the Shaker (Sh) gene, which encodes the rapidly inactivating A-type potassium channel, cause repetitive nerve firing and prolonged transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction. Here we show that mutations in the Hyperkinetic (Hk) gene also affect the properties of synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction. In particular, we find that whereas single or low frequency nerve stimulation evokes a wild type postsynaptic response, at higher frequencies of nerve stimulation, each stimulus results in repetitive nerve firing and increased postsynaptic response, which is similar to that observed in Sh mutants. Various experiments suggest that this increased postsynaptic response results from prolonged depolarization of the nerve terminal, leading to increased transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction. The similarity in phenotypes between Sh and Hk mutants, along with the observation that Sh is epistatic to Hk in its effects on synaptic transmission, suggest that Hk acts on synaptic transmission by an effect on A-type potassium channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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