These pathways regulate aru, directly or indirectly, in opposite ways: the Egfr/Erk pathway activates, whereas the PI3K/Akt pathway inhibits aru function. The Egfr/Erk, PI3K/Akt pathways, and aru all function during nervous system development to establish normal ethanol sensitivity. Like the PI3K/Akt pathway
( Martín-Peña et al., 2006, Knox et al., 2007 and Howlett et al., 2008), aru also regulates synapse number, a morphological phenotype that correlates with ethanol sensitivity. aru is required in the PDF-expressing circadian pacemaker neurons to reduce ethanol sensitivity. Social isolation, which reduces synapse number in PDF neurons Cell Cycle inhibitor ( Donlea et al., 2009), restores normal synapse number and ethanol sensitivity to aru mutants. Thus, subjecting an adult mutant fly to a simple environmental manipulation counteracts a developmental abnormality and restores normal behavior. To identify genes that regulate ethanol-induced sedation, we conducted an unbiased screen of approximately 1000 random P element insertion lines. The screen was conducted in the inebriometer, which measures ethanol-induced loss of postural control (Weber, 1988 and Moore et al., 1998). Line 8.128 displayed a robust increase in ethanol sensitivity, revealed by a decrease in mean elution time (MET) Tenofovir molecular weight ( Figure 1A). 8.128 flies were healthy, fertile,
and the gross morphology of their brains appeared normal ( Figure S1A, available online). Importantly, 8.128 flies had a normal rate of ethanol absorption indicating that their increased sensitivity was not due to altered ethanol pharmacokinetics ( Figure S1B). We used the loss-of-righting reflex (LORR) assay (Rothenfluh et al., 2006) to further characterize the
ethanol sensitivity phenotype of 8.128 flies. In this assay, the LORR is measured by direct observation of flies after intermittent disruption of their balance during exposure to a continuous stream of ethanol vapor; flies that fail to right themselves are scored as sedated. In this assay, like the inebriometer, the time for 50% of 8.128 flies to reach sedation (ST50) was significantly decreased Methisazone compared to wild-type control (w Berlin) ( Figures 1B and 1C). Thus, 8.128 flies showed increased ethanol sensitivity in two independent behavioral assays. Importantly, 8.128 flies have a normal righting reflex in the in the absence of ethanol and show normal baseline locomotor activity and startle-induced climbing ( Figure S1C, data not shown). A precise excision of the P element in 8.128 flies restored normal ethanol sensitivity ( Figure 1D), demonstrating that the P element insertion is responsible for the increased ethanol sensitivity of 8.128 flies. Inverse PCR, DNA sequencing, and database searches (flybase.org) revealed that the P element in 8.128 flies is inserted in the 5′ region of the arouser gene (aru, CG4276; Figure 2A), which encodes a predicted adaptor protein containing PTB and SH3 domains ( Tocchetti et al., 2003).