Taurine Transporter dEAAT2 is Required for Auditory Transduction in Drosophila


Drosophila dEAAT2, a member of the excitatory amino-acid transporter (EAAT) family, has been described as mediating the high-affinity transport of taurine, which is a free amino-acid abundant in both insects and mammals. However, the role of taurine and its transporter in hearing is not clear. Here, we report that dEAAT2 is required for the larval startle response to sound stimuli. dEAAT2 was found to be enriched in the distal region of chordotonal neurons where sound transduction occurs. The Ca2+ imaging and electrophysiological results showed that disrupted dEAAT2 expression significantly reduced the response of chordotonal neurons to sound. More importantly, expressing dEAAT2 in the chordotonal neurons rescued these mutant phenotypes. Taken together, these findings indicate a critical role for Drosophila dEAAT2 in sound transduction by chordotonal neurons.

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We thank Blooming Drosophila Stock Center and Yuh-Nung Jan for fly lines and the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for the microinjection of plasmids into Drosophila embryos. The research was supported by funds from The Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2017YFA0103900 and 2016YFA0502800), The National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571083), The Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar of Shanghai; TP2014008), The Shanghai Rising-Star Program (14QA1400800) and a grant from the Young 1000 Talent Program of China to ZY. The research was also supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (81470701), The National Natural Science Foundation of China (81771882) and The Fundamental Research (Discipline Layout) Foundation from Shenzhen Committee of Science, Technology and Innovation (JCYJ20170817111912585) to FC.

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Correspondence to Fangyi Chen or Zhiqiang Yan.

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Sun, Y., Jia, Y., Guo, Y. et al. Taurine Transporter dEAAT2 is Required for Auditory Transduction in Drosophila. Neurosci. Bull. 34, 939–950 (2018) doi:10.1007/s12264-018-0255-1

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  • Drosophila dEAAT2
  • Taurine
  • Chordotonal neurons
  • Sound transduction