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Neuron. 2000 Apr;26(1):169-79.

Constitutive activity of the light-sensitive channels TRP and TRPL in the Drosophila diacylglycerol kinase mutant, rdgA.

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Department of Anatomy, Cambridge University, United Kingdom.


Mutations in the Drosophila retinal degeneration A (rdgA) gene, which encodes diacylglycerol kinase (DGK), result in early onset retinal degeneration and blindness. Whole-cell recordings revealed that light-sensitive Ca2+ channels encoded by the trp gene were constitutively active in rdgA photoreceptors. Early degeneration was rescued in rdgA;trp double mutants, lacking TRP channels; however, the less Ca2+-permeable light-sensitive channels (TRPL) were constitutively active instead. No constitutive activity was seen in rdgA;trpI;trp mutants lacking both classes of channel, although, like rdgA;trp, these still showed a residual slow degeneration. Responses to light were restored in rdgA;trp but deactivated abnormally slowly, indicating that DGK is required for response termination. The findings suggest that early degeneration in rdgA is caused by uncontrolled Ca2+ influx and support the proposal that diacylglycerol or its metabolites are messengers of excitation in Drosophila photoreceptors.

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