Genetic dissection of dopamine and serotonin synthesis in the nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster

J Neurogenet. 1987 Dec;4(6):309-14.


Catecholamine- and serotonin-containing neurons were studied in pale, a Drosophila third-chromosome recessive lethal mutant. Using histofluorescent and immunocytochemical techniques, we show that this mutation only alters catecholamine levels in the CNS. Both the presence of catecholamine-neurons and the expression of serotonin are not affected by the mutation. Furthermore, we show that normal characteristics of catecholamine neurons, such as the presence of the enzyme DOPA decarboxylase and the selective uptake properties are normal in pale mutants. We suggest that pale is either the tyrosine hydroxylase structural gene, or a gene controlling tyrosine hydroxylase activity in Drosophila. The similar genetic location of the putative tyrosine hydroxylase gene and the mutation pale supports the former suggestion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopa Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Dopamine / biosynthesis*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Mutation*
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis*


  • Serotonin
  • Dopa Decarboxylase
  • Dopamine