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Molecular aspects of egg-laying behavior inAplysia californica


TheAplysia neuroendocrine system is a particularly advantageous model for cellular and molecular studies because of the relatively small number and large size of its component neurons. In addition, numerous anatomical and physiological studies have resulted in the assignment of behavioral roles to individual identified neurons. Recombinant DNA techniques have been used to isolate the genes that encode the precursors of peptides involved in egg-laying behavior. The comparison of the egg-laying hormone (ELH) gene family within the genusAplysia reveals high homologies in the overall structure of the precursors. A well-conserved tetrabasic residue has been shown to be the first endoproteolytic cleavage site of the precursor, giving rise to two intermediates, which are differentially processed and packaged. Some members of the ELH gene family are expressed specifically in the bag cell clusters or the atrial gland, respectively, providing an opportunity to study control of gene expression at the molecular level.

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DesGroseillers, L. Molecular aspects of egg-laying behavior inAplysia californica . Behav Genet 20, 251–264 (1990).

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Key Words

  • egg-laying behavior
  • Aplysia
  • neuropeptides
  • gene expression