A neural gene from Drosophila melanogaster with homology to vertebrate and invertebrate glutamate decarboxylases

J Neurochem. 1993 Oct;61(4):1291-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1993.tb13621.x.


Cross-species hybridization has been used to isolate a second Drosophila gene, with homology to a feline glutamate decarboxylase (Gad) cDNA. The gene differs in sequence, chromosomal location, and spatial expression from the previously reported Drosophila Gad gene, but both encode proteins of 58 kDa. The derived amino acid sequence reveals a typical pyridoxal phosphate binding site and sequence homology consistent with a glutamate decarboxylase function. The protein includes an amino-terminal polyasparagine sequence, and a beta-pleated sheet region, with regularly spaced glutamine and arginine residues, not found in other decarboxylases. Expression in the adult is limited to the neuropil of the first optic ganglion and to regions of the thoracic musculature that may correspond to the location of motor neuron axons. This is consistent with a glial localization for the transcript. There is no overlap with the reported expression of Drosophila Gad. Although the molecular evidence suggests that this gene encodes a pyridoxal phosphate-dependent decarboxylase, glutamate decarboxylase activity associated with this gene could not be demonstrated, and the in vivo substrate is unknown. It is possible that the protein encoded by this gene is novel, not only in sequence and spatial expression, but also in substrate specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cats
  • Chromosomes
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Invertebrates / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue / enzymology*
  • Sequence Homology*
  • Vertebrates / genetics*


  • Glutamate Decarboxylase