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Water taste transduction pathway is calcium dependent in Drosophila

Abstract : In mammals, detection of osmolarity by the gustatory system was overlooked until recently. In insects, specific taste receptor neurons detect hypoosmotic stimuli and are commonly called “W” (water) cells. W cells are easy to access in vivo and represent a good model to study the transduction of hypoosmotic stimuli. Using pharmacological and genetic approaches in Drosophila, we show that tarsal W cell firing activity depends on the concentration of external calcium bathing the dendrite. This dependence was confirmed by the strong inhibition of W cell responses to hypoosmotic stimuli by lanthanum (IC50 = 8 nM), an ion known to inhibit calcium-permeable channels. Downstream, the transduction pathway likely involves calmodulin because calmodulin antagonists such as W-7 (IC50 = 2 μM) and fluphenazine (IC50 = 30 μM) prevented the activation of the W cell by hypoosmotic stimuli. A protein kinase C (PKC) may also be involved as W cell responses were blocked by PKC inhibitors, chelerythrine (IC50 = 20 μM) and staurosporine (IC50 = 30 μM). It was also reduced when expressing an inhibitory pseudosubstrate of PKC in gustatory receptor neurons. In the rat, the transduction pathway underlying low osmolarity detection involves aquaporin and swelling-activated ion channels. Our study suggests that the transduction pathway of hypoosmotic stimuli in insects differs from mammals.
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Nicolas Meunier, Frédéric Marion-Poll, Philippe Lucas. Water taste transduction pathway is calcium dependent in Drosophila. Chemical Senses, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2009, 34 (5), pp.441-449. ⟨10.1093/chemse/bjp019⟩. ⟨hal-02656850⟩

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