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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032878. Epub 2012 Mar 5.

Drosophila nociceptors mediate larval aversion to dry surface environments utilizing both the painless TRP channel and the DEG/ENaC subunit, PPK1.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Roy and Lucille J Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, United States of America. wayne-a-johnson@uiowa.edu

Abstract

A subset of sensory neurons embedded within the Drosophila larval body wall have been characterized as high-threshold polymodal nociceptors capable of responding to noxious heat and noxious mechanical stimulation. They are also sensitized by UV-induced tissue damage leading to both thermal hyperalgesia and allodynia very similar to that observed in vertebrate nociceptors. We show that the class IV multiple-dendritic(mdIV) nociceptors are also required for a normal larval aversion to locomotion on to a dry surface environment. Drosophila melanogaster larvae are acutely susceptible to desiccation displaying a strong aversion to locomotion on dry surfaces severely limiting the distance of movement away from a moist food source. Transgenic inactivation of mdIV nociceptor neurons resulted in larvae moving inappropriately into regions of low humidity at the top of the vial reflected as an increased overall pupation height and larval desiccation. This larval lethal desiccation phenotype was not observed in wild-type controls and was completely suppressed by growth in conditions of high humidity. Transgenic hyperactivation of mdIV nociceptors caused a reciprocal hypersensitivity to dry surfaces resulting in drastically decreased pupation height but did not induce the writhing nocifensive response previously associated with mdIV nociceptor activation by noxious heat or harsh mechanical stimuli. Larvae carrying mutations in either the Drosophila TRP channel, Painless, or the degenerin/epithelial sodium channel subunit Pickpocket1(PPK1), both expressed in mdIV nociceptors, showed the same inappropriate increased pupation height and lethal desiccation observed with mdIV nociceptor inactivation. Larval aversion to dry surfaces appears to utilize the same or overlapping sensory transduction pathways activated by noxious heat and harsh mechanical stimulation but with strikingly different sensitivities and disparate physiological responses.

PMID:
22403719
PMCID:
PMC3293903
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0032878
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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