Variation in Drosophila acetylcholinesterase
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We examined the Canton-S strain of Drosophila melanogaster for electrophoretic variation of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The pattern of bands obtained (stained with acetylthiocholine) depended on age, sex, and tissue (i.e., head vs. body part and hemolymph). However, through mixing experiments, it was concluded that most of these apparent differences were due to modification of the enzyme by unknown substances located in the fly's body. The electrophoretic pattern of head acetylcholinesterase was altered so that it became characteristic of the body which was present during extraction. For example, when heads of D. melanogaster were homogenized in an extract from D. lebanonensis bodies, the characteristic AChse bands of melanogaster were absent and instead of the bands of lebanonensis were found. It was found that extraction of adult heads in 0.1 M potassium phosphate buffer alone or with a 2-min exposure to 1 mg/ml trypsin at 20 C gave the most reproducible results, independent of age and sex. Using these conditions, 25 strains of D. melanogaster and 30 strains of D. pseudoobscura were examined without finding any reproducible electrophoretic variant of acetylcholinesterase. In addition, 53 strains from 39 other Drosophila species produced a total of only six electrophoretic forms of the head enzyme. Additional electromorphs were found when whole flies were used, but these were not studied in detail because of the possibility that they could be due to postextraction modification.
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