Article

Mutations in the desat1 gene reduces the production of courtship stimulatory pheromones through a marked effect on fatty acids in Drosophila melanogaster.

Laboratoire de Neurobiologie de l'Apprentissage, de la Mémoire et de la Communication, CNRS UMR 8620, Bât. 446, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay Cédex, France.
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 09/2005; 35(8):911-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2005.03.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Drosophila melanogaster, desat1 is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids (FAs), some of which are precursors in the production of unsaturated hydrocarbons (HCs) in position 7 (7-HC) that play an important role in mating behaviour. Three GS lines with P-element insertion in the desat1 promoter showed more or less decrease in 7-HC, depending on the site of insertion. The forced transcription of genomic 5'P-flanking sequence led to opposite effects upon 7-HC, depending on the orientation of the insertions. Homozygous GS12251 flies showed particularly low 7-HC levels and severely affected courtship parameters (courtship latency doubled, number of copulation attempts decreased by half). After transposon excision, the HC phenotype was reversed in most lines, showing that the location of the transposon was responsible for the mutant phenotype. In homozygous GS12251 flies, the amounts of FAs and desat1 transcripts were reduced by half, compared to the amounts in heterozygous or wild-type flies. Relative proportions among FAs were quite similar to those of wild-type, with the exception of a slight decrease in myristoleic, palmitoleic and vaccenic acid. As the reduction of desat1 activity in the mutant resulted in a large decrease in both unsaturated and saturated FAs, it could impair FA and lipid metabolism, as it is known in vertebrates.

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