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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 23;105(38):14668-73. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0805041105. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Distinct TRP channels are required for warm and cool avoidance in Drosophila melanogaster.

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National Center for Behavioral Genomics, Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02458, USA.


The ability to sense and respond to subtle variations in environmental temperature is critical for animal survival. Animals avoid temperatures that are too cold or too warm and seek out temperatures favorable for their survival. At the molecular level, members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of cation channels contribute to thermosensory behaviors in animals from flies to humans. In Drosophila melanogaster larvae, avoidance of excessively warm temperatures is known to require the TRP protein dTRPA1. Whether larval avoidance of excessively cool temperatures also requires TRP channel function, and whether warm and cool avoidance use the same or distinct TRP channels has been unknown. Here we identify two TRP channels required for cool avoidance, TRPL and TRP. Although TRPL and TRP have previously characterized roles in phototransduction, their function in cool avoidance appears to be distinct, as neither photoreceptor neurons nor the phototransduction regulators NORPA and INAF are required for cool avoidance. TRPL and TRP are required for cool avoidance; however they are dispensable for warm avoidance. Furthermore, cold-activated neurons in the larvae are required for cool but not warm avoidance. Conversely, dTRPA1 is essential for warm avoidance, but not cool avoidance. Taken together, these data demonstrate that warm and cool avoidance in the Drosophila larva involves distinct TRP channels and circuits.

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