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In Drosophila melanogaster, gustatory receptor genes (Grs) encode putative G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are expressed in gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs). One of the Gr genes, Gr5a, encodes a receptor for trehalose that is expressed in a subset of GRNs. Although a role for the G protein, Gsα, has been shown in Gr5a-expressing taste neurons, there is the residual responses to trehalose in Gsα mutants which could suggest additional transduction mechanisms. Expression and genetic analysis of the heterotrimeric G-protein subunit, Gq, shown here suggest involvement of this Gα subunit in trehalose perception in Drosophila. A green fluorescent protein reporter of Gq expression is detected in gustatory neurons in the labellum, tarsal segments, and wing margins. Animals heterozygous for dgq mutations and RNA interference-mediated knockdown of dgq showed reduced responses to trehalose in the proboscis extension reflex assay and feeding behavior assay. These defects were rescued by targeted expression of the wild-type dgqα transgene in the GRNs. These data together with observations from other mutants in phospholipid signaling provide insights into the mechanisms of taste transduction in Drosophila.


Pinky Kain, Farhath Badsha, Syed Mubarak Hussain, Amit Nair, Gaiti Hasan, Veronica Rodrigues. Mutants in phospholipid signaling attenuate the behavioral response of adult Drosophila to trehalose. Chemical senses. 2010 Oct;35(8):663-73

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PMID: 20543015

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