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Neuron. 2018 Jan 3;97(1):67-74.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.11.038. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Calcium Taste Avoidance in Drosophila.

Author information

1
Department of Bio & Fermentation Convergence Technology, BK21 PLUS Project, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: ylee@kookmin.ac.kr.
2
Department of Bio & Fermentation Convergence Technology, BK21 PLUS Project, Kookmin University, Seoul 02707, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.
4
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Electronic address: cmontell@lifesci.ucsb.edu.

Abstract

Many animals, ranging from vinegar flies to humans, discriminate a wide range of tastants, including sugars, bitter compounds, NaCl, and sour. However, the taste of Ca2+ is poorly understood, and it is unclear whether animals such as Drosophila melanogaster are endowed with this sense. Here, we examined Ca2+ taste in Drosophila and showed that high levels of Ca2+ are aversive. The repulsion was mediated by two mechanisms-activation of a specific class of gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs), which suppresses feeding and inhibition of sugar-activated GRNs, which normally stimulates feeding. The distaste for Ca2+, and Ca2+-activated action potentials required several members of the variant ionotropic receptor (IR) family (IR25a, IR62a, and IR76b). Consistent with the Ca2+ rejection, we found that high concentrations of Ca2+ decreased survival. We conclude that gustatory detection of Ca2+ represents an additional sense of taste in Drosophila and is required for avoiding toxic levels of this mineral.

KEYWORDS:

Drosophila; PPK23; calcium; chemoreceptor; gustatory; ionotropic receptor; labellum; taste

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