A doublecortin containing microtubule-associated protein is implicated in mechanotransduction in Drosophila sensory cilia. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Mechanoreceptors are sensory cells that transduce mechanical stimuli into electrical signals and mediate the perception of sound, touch and acceleration. Ciliated mechanoreceptors possess an elaborate microtubule cytoskeleton that facilitates the coupling of external forces to the transduction apparatus. In a screen for genes preferentially expressed in Drosophila campaniform mechanoreceptors, we identified DCX-EMAP, a unique member of the EMAP family (echinoderm-microtubule-associated proteins) that contains two doublecortin domains. DCX-EMAP localizes to the tubular body in campaniform receptors and to the ciliary dilation in chordotonal mechanoreceptors in Johnston's organ, the fly's auditory organ. Adult flies carrying a piggyBac insertion in the DCX-EMAP gene are uncoordinated and deaf and display loss of mechanosensory transduction and amplification. Electron microscopy of mutant sensilla reveals loss of electron-dense materials within the microtubule cytoskeleton in the tubular body and ciliary dilation. Our results establish a catalogue of candidate genes for Drosophila mechanosensation and show that one candidate, DCX-EMAP, is likely to be required for mechanosensory transduction and amplification.

publication date

  • April 12, 2010