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PLoS Genet. 2018 Aug 15;14(8):e1007459. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007459. eCollection 2018 Aug.

FMRFa receptor stimulated Ca2+ signals alter the activity of flight modulating central dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila melanogaster.

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1
National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India.

Abstract

Neuropeptide signaling influences animal behavior by modulating neuronal activity and thus altering circuit dynamics. Insect flight is a key innate behavior that very likely requires robust neuromodulation. Cellular and molecular components that help modulate flight behavior are therefore of interest and require investigation. In a genetic RNAi screen for G-protein coupled receptors that regulate flight bout durations, we earlier identified several receptors, including the receptor for the neuropeptide FMRFa (FMRFaR). To further investigate modulation of insect flight by FMRFa we generated CRISPR-Cas9 mutants in the gene encoding the Drosophila FMRFaR. The mutants exhibit significant flight deficits with a focus in dopaminergic cells. Expression of a receptor specific RNAi in adult central dopaminergic neurons resulted in progressive loss of sustained flight. Further, genetic and cellular assays demonstrated that FMRFaR stimulates intracellular calcium signaling through the IP3R and helps maintain neuronal excitability in a subset of dopaminergic neurons for positive modulation of flight bout durations.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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