The interference of truncated with normal potassium channel subunits leads to abnormal behaviour in transgenic Drosophila melanogaster

EMBO J. 1989 Aug;8(8):2359-64.


The Shaker locus of Drosophila melanogaster encodes a family of A-type potassium channel subunits. Shaker mutants behave as antimorphs in gene dosage tests. This behaviour is due to the production of truncated A-channel subunits. We propose that they interfere with the function of their normal counterpart by forming multimeric A-channel structures. This hypothesis was tested by constructing transgenic flies carrying a heat-inducible gene encoding a truncated A-type potassium channel subunit together with a normal wild type doses of A-type potassium channel subunits. The altered subunit leads at larval, pupal or adult stages to the transformation of wild type into Shaker flies. The transformed flies exhibited a heat-inducible abnormal leg shaking behaviour and a heat-inducible facilitated neurotransmitter release at larval neuromuscular junctions. By the overexpression of an aberrant A-channel subunit the normal behaviour of transgenic D. melanogaster can be altered in a predictable way.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Hot Temperature
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Potassium Channels