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Creators/Authors contains: "Bellen, Hugo J."

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  1. Abstract

    The fruit flyDrosophila melanogasterhas provided important insights into how sensory information is transduced by transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). However, TRP channels alone have not been able to completely model mechanosensitive transduction in mechanoreceptive chordotonal neurons (CNs). Here, we show that, in addition to TRP channels, the sole voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV) inDrosophila, Para, is localized to the dendrites of CNs. Para is localized to the distal tip of the dendrites in all CNs, from embryos to adults, and is colocalized with the mechanosensitive TRP channels No mechanoreceptor potential C (NompC) and Inactive/Nanchung (Iav/Nan). Para localization also demarcates spike initiation zones (SIZs) in axons and the dendritic localization of Para is indicative of a likely dendritic SIZ in fly CNs. Para is not present in the dendrites of other peripheral sensory neurons. In both multipolar and bipolar neurons in the PNS, Para is present in a proximal region of the axon, comparable to the axonal initial segment (AIS) in vertebrates, 40–60 μm from the soma in multipolar neurons and 20–40 μm in bipolar neurons. Whole-cell reduction ofparaexpression using RNAi in CNs of the adult Johnston’s organ (JO) severely affects sound-evoked potentials (SEPs). However, the duality of Para localization in the CN dendrites and axons identifies a need to develop resources to study compartment-specific roles of proteins that will enable us to better understand Para’s role in mechanosensitive transduction.

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  2. ABSTRACT In complex nervous systems, neurons must identify their correct partners to form synaptic connections. The prevailing model to ensure correct recognition posits that cell-surface proteins (CSPs) in individual neurons act as identification tags. Thus, knowing what cells express which CSPs would provide insights into neural development, synaptic connectivity, and nervous system evolution. Here, we investigated expression of Dpr and DIP genes, two CSP subfamilies belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily, in Drosophila larval motor neurons (MNs), muscles, glia and sensory neurons (SNs) using a collection of GAL4 driver lines. We found that Dpr genes are more broadly expressed than DIP genes in MNs and SNs, and each examined neuron expresses a unique combination of Dpr and DIP genes. Interestingly, many Dpr and DIP genes are not robustly expressed, but are found instead in gradient and temporal expression patterns. In addition, the unique expression patterns of Dpr and DIP genes revealed three uncharacterized MNs. This study sets the stage for exploring the functions of Dpr and DIP genes in Drosophila MNs and SNs and provides genetic access to subsets of neurons. 
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