Mutation in slowmo causes defects in Drosophila larval locomotor behaviour

Invert Neurosci. 2004 Oct;5(2):65-75. doi: 10.1007/s10158-003-0028-y. Epub 2003 Dec 13.


We have identified a mutant slowmotion phenotype in first instar larval peristaltic behaviour of Drosophila. By the end of embryogenesis and during early first instar phases, slowmo mutant animals show a marked decrease in locomotory behaviour, resulting from both a reduction in number and rate of peristaltic contractions. Inhibition of neurotransmitter release, using targeted expression of tetanus toxin light chain (TeTxLC), in the slowmo neurons marked by an enhancer-trap results in a similar phenotype of largely absent or uncoordinated contractions. Cloning of the slowmo gene identifies a product related to a family of proteins of unknown function. We show that Slowmo is associated with mitochondria, indicative of it being a mitochondrial protein, and that during embryogenesis and early larval development is restricted to the nervous system in a subset of cells. The enhancer-trap marks a cellular component of the CNS that is seemingly required to regulate peristaltic movement.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / metabolism
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • Larva / physiology
  • Locomotion
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Mutation*
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Phenotype
  • Transfection / methods


  • Antibodies
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • slmo protein, Drosophila
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins