Drosophila gustatory preference behaviors require the atypical soluble guanylyl cyclases

Anke Vermehren-Schmaedick, Charles Scudder, Wendy Timmermans, David B. Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The intracellular messenger cGMP has been suggested to play a role in taste signal transduction in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the present study, we have examined the role of the Drosophila atypical soluble guanylyl cyclases (sGCs), Gyc-89Da and Gyc-89Db, in larval and adult gustatory preference behaviors. We showed that in larvae, sucrose attraction requires Gyc-89Db and caffeine avoidance requires Gyc-89Da. In adult flies, sucrose attraction is unaffected by mutations in either gene whereas avoidance of low concentrations of caffeine is eliminated by loss of either gene. Similar defective behaviors were observed when cGMP increases were prevented by the expression of a cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase. We also showed that both genes were expressed in gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) in larval and adult gustatory organs, primarily in a non-overlapping pattern, with the exception of a small group of cells in the adult labellum. In addition, in adults, several cells co-expressed the bitter taste receptor, Gr66a, with either Gyc-89Da or Gyc-89Db. We also showed that the electrophysiological responses of a GRN to caffeine were significantly reduced in flies mutant for the atypical sGCs, suggesting that at least part of the adult behavioral defects were due to a reduced ability to detect caffeine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-727
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Drosophila
  • Guanylyl cyclase
  • Gustatory receptor neurons
  • Taste preference
  • cGMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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