Impairment of proprioceptive movement and mechanical nociception in Drosophila melanogaster larvae lacking Ppk30, a Drosophila member of the Degenerin/Epithelial Sodium Channel family

Wijeong Jang, Sojung Lee, Seung In Choi, Hyo Seok Chae, Jisun Han, Heeji Jo, Sun Wook Hwang, Chul Seung Park, Changsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The mechanosensory neurons of Drosophila larvae are demonstrably activated by diverse mechanical stimuli, but the mechanisms underlying this function are not completely understood. Here we report a genetic, immunohistochemical, and electrophysiological analysis of the Ppk30 ion channel, a member of the Drosophila pickpocket (ppk) family, counterpart of the mammalian Degenerin/Epithelial Na + Channel family. Ppk30 mutant larvae displayed deficits in proprioceptive movement and mechanical nociception, which are detected by class IV sensory (mdIV) neurons. The same neurons also detect heat nociception, which was not impaired in ppk30 mutant larvae. Similarly, Ppk30 mutation did not alter gentle touch mechanosensation, a distinct mechanosensation detected by other neurons, suggesting that Ppk30 has a functional role in mechanosensation in mdIV neurons. Consistently, Ppk30 was expressed in class IV neurons, but was not detectable in other larval skin sensory neurons. Mutant phenotypes were rescued by expressing Ppk30 in mdIV neurons. Electrophysiological analysis of heterologous cells expressing Ppk30 did not detect mechanosensitive channel activities, but did detect acid-induced currents. These data show that Ppk30 has a role in mechanosensation, but not in thermosensation, in class IV neurons, and possibly has other functions related to acid response.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12545
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • channels
  • DEG/ENaC
  • Drosophila
  • larvae
  • mdIV neurons
  • mechanosensation
  • nociception
  • ppk
  • sensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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