A drosophila gustatory receptor required for strychnine sensation

Youngseok Lee, Seok Jun Moon, Yijin Wang, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Strychnine is a potent, naturally occurring neurotoxin that effectively protects plants from animal pests by deterring feeding behavior. In insects, such as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, bitter-tasting aversive compounds are detected primarily through a family of gustatory receptors (GRs), which are expressed in gustatory receptor neurons. We previously described multiple GRs that eliminate the behavioral avoidance to all bitter compounds tested, with the exception of strychnine. Here, we report the identity of a strychnine receptor, referred to as GR47a. We generated a mutation in Gr47a and found that it eliminated strychnine repulsion and strychnine-induced action potentials. GR47a was narrowly tuned, as the responses to other avoidance compounds were unaffected in the mutant animals. This analysis supports an emerging model that Drosophila GRs fall broadly into two specificity classes-one class is comprised of core receptors that are broadly required, whereas the other class, which includes GR47a, consists of narrowly tuned receptors that define chemical specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sep

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC007864 to C.M.); the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning [2012M3A9B2052525 to Y.L.]; and the Basic Science Research Program of the NRF of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education [2012R1A1A2003727 to Y.L.].

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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