A tyramine receptor gene mutation causes a defective olfactory behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Gene. 2000 Mar 7;245(1):31-42. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(99)00569-7.


We characterized molecular profiles of a new olfactory mutant line, honoka (hono), which was found among 500 viable P-element insertion lines screened first by 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indrolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside (X-gal) staining on the third segment of the antenna, and then by behavioral assays to several pure chemicals. The behavioral responses of hono mutants to repellents such as ethyl acetate (EA), benzaldehyde (BZ) and 4-methylcycrohexanol (MCH), were reduced compared with those of a control strain. The location of the P-element insertion was determined to be about 100bp) upstream of the first exon of the tyramine receptor gene. The level of 3.6kb tyramine receptor mRNA expression was reduced in hono compared with that of wild-type flies. The tyramine receptor cDNA hybridized to the chromosomal division 79C-D, the same locus as the P-element insertion point in hono, and not to 99A-B, previously reported by Arakawa et al. (1990. Neuron 2, 343-354). Electrophysiological responses to octopamine and tyramine were examined by measuring the excitatory junctional potential (EJP) amplitude from larval body-wall muscles of the hono mutant. The hono was impaired with responding to tyramine, while displaying normal response to octopamine. These results indicate that tyramine has a functional role in the Drosophila olfactory system as a neurotransmitter or a neuromodulator, and hono is the first tyramine receptor mutant. This study provides the first step toward understanding of the molecular genetics of tyramine-mediated neural functions in Drosophila.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzaldehydes / pharmacology
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Cyclohexanols / pharmacology
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes / genetics
  • Introns
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / physiology
  • Muscles / drug effects
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Mutation
  • Octopamine / pharmacology
  • Olfactory Pathways / growth & development
  • Olfactory Pathways / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Biogenic Amine / genetics*
  • Tyramine / pharmacology


  • Acetates
  • Benzaldehydes
  • Cyclohexanols
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Receptors, Biogenic Amine
  • norsynephrine receptor
  • tyramine receptor
  • Octopamine
  • 4-methylcyclohexanol
  • ethyl acetate
  • benzaldehyde
  • Tyramine