Student Theses and Dissertations


Victor Neel

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

RU Laboratory

Young M Laboratory


The neuronal protein GAP-43 has been implicated in a number of key processes in neural development and synaptic behavior. There have been no reports identifying an invertebrate molecule with homology to GAP-43. In this study we have begun to explore the biochemistry and genetics of the Drosophila gene nerd, which was isolated by vitrue of its DNA homology to mammalian GAP-43. Two proteins arise from the nerd locus and share a conserved motif, the GAP43 module. This twenty amino acid domain unites a small family of brainspecific mammalian proteins that are believed to function similarly. Based on protein sequence, biochemical activities and nervous system-specific tissue distribution we argue that nerd represents a functional homolog of vertebrate GAP-43. The possibility of a mutational analysis of nerd makes the study of this gene in Drosophila a valuable extention of previous studies in vertebrate systems. An initial characterization of mutants that map within or close to the nerd region on the second chromosome is detailed.


A thesis submitted to the faculty of Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

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