Duplication of the escape-response neural pathway by mutation of the bithorax-complex

Dev Biol. 1993 Jun;157(2):455-73. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1993.1149.


Each Drosophila segment exhibits specific patterns of epidermal cells, muscles, and neurons. Mutations in the homeotic genes of the bithorax-complex cause transformations of these patterns. Whereas abundant information exists concerning homeotic transformation of epidermis, transformations of muscles and motor neurons have been largely unexplored. An important indication of neuromuscular transformation in a segment is the expression of novel behavioral and physiological functions within that segment. We have resolved some of the segmental identities of neuromuscular elements in the transformed metathorax of the bithorax-complex mutant, abx bx3 pbx/Df(3R) P2, and have established the presence of a duplicated neural pathway for the escape-jump response within that segment. Although we observed frequent homeotic transformation of neural elements and the tergotrochanteral ("jump") muscle in mutants, corresponding transformation of flight muscles was infrequent, indicating that the presence of a motor neuron was not always sufficient to induce or determine the development of its target muscle.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Escape Reaction*
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Mutation
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Transformation, Genetic*