Gustatory Receptors Required for Avoiding the Toxic Compound Coumarin in Drosophila melanogaster

  • Poudel, Seeta (Department of Bio and Fermentation Convergence Technology, BK21 PLUS Project, Kookmin University) ;
  • Lee, Youngseok (Department of Bio and Fermentation Convergence Technology, BK21 PLUS Project, Kookmin University)
  • Received : 2015.09.25
  • Accepted : 2015.12.17
  • Published : 2016.04.30


Coumarin is a phenolic compound that mainly affects the liver due to its metabolization into a toxic compound. The deterrent and ovicidal activities of coumarin in insect models such as Drosophila melanogaster have been reported. Here we explore the molecular mechanisms by which these insects protect themselves and their eggs from this toxic plant metabolite. Coumarin was fatal to the flies in a dosage-dependent manner. However, coumarin feeding could be inhibited through activation of the aversive gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs), but not the olfactory receptor neurons. Furthermore, three gustatory receptors, GR33a, GR66a, and GR93a, functioned together in coumarin detection by the proboscis. However, GR33a, but not GR66a and GR93a, was required to avoid coumarin during oviposition, with a choice of the same substrates provided as in binary food choice assay. Taken together, these findings suggest that anti-feeding activity and oviposition to avoid coumarin occur via separate mechanisms.




Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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