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Hardie, S.L., Zhang, J.X., Hirsh, J. (2007). Trace amines differentially regulate adult locomotor activity, cocaine sensitivity, and female fertility in Drosophila melanogaster.  Dev. Neurobiol. 67(10): 1396--1405.
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The trace biogenic amines tyramine and octopamine are found in the nervous systems of animals ranging in complexity from nematodes to mammals. In insects such as Drosophila melanogaster, the trace amine octopamine is a well-established neuromodulator that mediates a diverse range of physiological processes, but an independent role for tyramine is less clear. Tyramine is synthesized from tyrosine by the enzyme tyrosine decarboxylase (TDC). We previously reported the identification of two Tdc genes in Drosophila: the peripherally-expressed Tdc1 and the neurally-expressed Tdc2. To further clarify the neural functions of the trace amines in Drosophila, we examined normal and cocaine-induced locomotor activity in flies that lack both neural tyramine and octopamine because of mutation in Tdc2 (Tdc2(RO54)). Tdc2(RO54) flies have dramatically reduced basal locomotor activity levels and are hypersensitive to an initial dose of cocaine. Tdc2-targeted expression of the constitutively active inward rectifying potassium channel Kir2.1 replicates these phenotypes, and Tdc2-driven expression of Tdc1 rescues the phenotypes. However, flies that contain no measurable neural octopamine and an excess of tyramine due to a null mutation in the tyramine beta-hydroxylase gene (TbetaH(nM18)) exhibit normal locomotor activity and cocaine responses in spite of showing female sterility due to loss of octopamine. The ability of elevated levels of neural tyramine in TbetaH(nM18) flies to supplant the role of octopamine in adult locomotor and cocaine-induced behaviors, but not in functions related to female fertility, indicates mechanistic differences in the roles of trace amines in these processes.

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  • FBrf0201594
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Dev. Neurobiol.
Developmental Neurobiology
Publication Year
1932-8451 1932-846X
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Alleles (6)
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