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Expression of Drosophila mushroom body mutations in alternative genetic backgrounds: a case study of the mushroom body miniature gene (mbm)

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de Belle,  JS
Former Department Neurophysiology of Insect Behavior, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

de Belle, J., & Heisenberg, M. (1996). Expression of Drosophila mushroom body mutations in alternative genetic backgrounds: a case study of the mushroom body miniature gene (mbm). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93(18), 9875-9880. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.18.9875.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-E6FC-C
Abstract
Mutations in 12 genes regulating Drosophila melanogaster mushroom body (MB) development were each studied in two genetic backgrounds. In all cases, brain structure was qualitatively or quantitatively different after replacement of the "original" genetic background with that of the Canton Special wild-type strain. The mushroom body miniature gene (mbm) was investigated in detail. mbm supports the maintenance of MB Kenyon cell fibers in third instar larvae and their regrowth during metamorphosis. Adult mbm1 mutant females are lacking many or most Kenyon cell fibers and are impaired in MB-mediated associative odor learning. We show here that structural defects in mbm1 are apparent only in combination with an X-linked, dosage-dependent modifier (or modifiers). In the Canton Special genetic background, the mbm1 anatomical phenotype is suppressed, and MBs develop to a normal size. However, the olfactory learning phenotype is not fully restored, suggesting that submicroscopic defects persist in the MBs. Mutant mbm1 flies with full-sized MBs have normal retention but show a specific acquisition deficit that cannot be attributed to reductions in odor avoidance, shock reactivity, or locomotor behavior. We propose that polymorphic gene interactions (in addition to ontogenetic factors) determine MB size and, concomitantly, the ability to recognize and learn odors.