Use of Neurotoxins for Biochemical and Genetic Analysis of Membrane Proteins Involved in Cell Excitability
In recent years the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has become increasingly popular for use in genetic approaches to problems in neurobiology. As a result, a variety of single gene mutations which affect nervous system function have become available to the investigator. (See other chapters in this volume and the following recent reviews for descriptions of the types of mutants which are available: Pak and Pinto, 1976; Ward, 1977; Kankel and Ferrus, 1979; Pak, 1979). Although electrophysiological studies have been used to provide clues about possible sites of action of these mutations (Ikeda et al., 1976; Siddiqi and Benzer, 1976; Jan et al., 1977; Wu et al., 1978), biochemical experiments will be necessary to identify the molecular site of the mutant defect. Mutations which affect enzymes important to nervous system function such as those involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and degradation are relatively straightforward to identify and analyze since most enzyme activities can be readily monitored in extracts. Thus, mutations affecting the enzymes choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase have been identified in Drosophila. (See chapter by J.C. Hall et al. in this volume).
KeywordsCyanogen Bromide Nervous System Function Binding Component Toxin Binding Pharmacological Specificity
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