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An expression atlas of variant ionotropic glutamate receptors identifies a molecular basis of carbonation sensing.

Sánchez-Alcañiz, J.A. and Silbering, A.F. and Croset, V. and Zappia, G. and Sivasubramaniam, A.K. and Abuin, L. and Sahai, S.Y. and Münch, D. and Steck, K. and Auer, T.O. and Cruchet, S. and Neagu-Maier, G.L. and Sprecher, S.G. and Ribeiro, C. and Yapici, N. and Benton, R. (2018) 'An expression atlas of variant ionotropic glutamate receptors identifies a molecular basis of carbonation sensing.', Nature communications., 9 (1). 4252 .


Through analysis of the Drosophila ionotropic receptors (IRs), a family of variant ionotropic glutamate receptors, we reveal that most IRs are expressed in peripheral neuron populations in diverse gustatory organs in larvae and adults. We characterise IR56d, which defines two anatomically-distinct neuron classes in the proboscis: one responds to carbonated solutions and fatty acids while the other represents a subset of sugar- and fatty acid-sensing cells. Mutational analysis indicates that IR56d, together with the broadly-expressed co-receptors IR25a and IR76b, is essential for physiological responses to carbonation and fatty acids, but not sugars. We further demonstrate that carbonation and fatty acids both promote IR56d-dependent attraction of flies, but through different behavioural outputs. Our work provides a toolkit for investigating taste functions of IRs, defines a subset of these receptors required for carbonation sensing, and illustrates how the gustatory system uses combinatorial expression of sensory molecules in distinct neurons to coordinate behaviour.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:06 September 2018
Date deposited:26 August 2020
Date of first online publication:12 October 2018
Date first made open access:26 August 2020

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