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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 18;5:14198. doi: 10.1038/srep14198.

Nano-architecture of gustatory chemosensory bristles and trachea in Drosophila wings.

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Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IM2NP, UMR 7334, Case 907, 13288 Marseille, France.
Université de Toulon, CNRS, IM2NP, UMR 7334, 83957 La Garde, France.
UMR INRA/CNRS/UNS 1355/7254, Institut Sophia Agrobiotech, 400 route des Chappes, P. O. Box 167, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France.
JWRI, Osaka University, 11-1, Mihogaoka, Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0047, Japan.


In the Drosophila wing anterior margin, the dendrites of gustatory neurons occupy the interior of thin and long bristles that present tiny pores at their extremities. Many attempts to measure ligand-evoked currents in insect wing gustatory neurons have been unsuccessful for technical reasons. The functions of this gustatory activity therefore remain elusive and controversial. To advance our knowledge on this understudied tissue, we investigated the architecture of the wing chemosensory bristles and wing trachea using Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy. We hypothesized that the wing gustatory hair, an open-ended capillary tube, and the wing trachea constitute biological systems similar to nano-porous materials. We present evidence that argues in favour of the existence of a layer or a bubble of air beneath the pore inside the gustatory hair. We demonstrate that these hollow hairs and wing tracheal tubes fulfil conditions for which the physics of fluids applied to open-ended capillaries and porous materials are relevant. We also document that the wing gustatory hair and tracheal architectures are capable of trapping volatile molecules from the environment, which might increase the efficiency of their spatial detection by way of wing vibrations or during flight.

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