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The gastrointestinal tract is emerging as a major site of chemosensation in mammalian studies. Enteroendocrine cells are chemosensory cells in the gut which produce regulatory peptides in response to luminal contents to regulate gut physiology, food intake, and glucose homeostasis, among other possible functions. Increasing evidence shows that mammalian taste receptors and taste signaling molecules are expressed in enteroendocrine cells in the gut. Invertebrate models such as Drosophila can provide a simple and genetically tractable system to study the chemosensory functions of enteroendocrine cells in vivo. To establish Drosophila enteroendocrine cells as a model for studying gut chemosensation, we used the GAL4/UAS system to examine the expression of all 68 Gustatory receptors (Grs) in the intestine. We find that 12 Gr-GAL4 drivers label subsets of enteroendocrine cells in the midgut, and examine colocalization of these drivers with the regulatory peptides neuropeptide F (NPF), locustatachykinin (LTK), and diuretic hormone 31 (DH31). RT-PCR analysis provides additional evidence for the presence of Gr transcripts in the gut. Our results suggest that the Drosophila Grs have chemosensory roles in the intestine to regulate physiological functions such as food uptake, nutrient absorption, or sugar homeostasis.


Jeong-Ho Park, Jae Young Kwon. Heterogeneous expression of Drosophila gustatory receptors in enteroendocrine cells. PloS one. 2011;6(12):e29022

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PMID: 22194978

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