Wang, KY (reprint author), Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Neurosci, Shanghai Inst Biol Sci, State Key Lab Neurosci, Shanghai, Peoples R China,ZuorenWang@ion.ac.cn
The Drosophila melanogaster TRPA family member painless, expressed in a subset of multidendritic neurons embeding in the larval epidermis, is necessary for larval nociception of noxious heat or mechanical stimuli. However, the function of painless in adult flies remains largely unknown. Here we report that mutation of painless leads to a defect in male-male courtship behavior and alteration in olfaction sensitivity in adult flies. Specific downregulation of the expression of the Painless protein in the olfactory projection neurons (PNs) of the antennal lobes (ALs) resulted in a phenotype resembling that found in painless mutant flies, whereas overexpression of Painless in PNs of painless mutant males suppressed male-male courtship behavior. The downregulation of Painless exclusively during adulthood also resulted in male-male courtship behavior. In addition, mutation of the painless gene in flies caused changes in olfaction, suggesting a role for this gene in olfactory processing. These results indicate that functions of painless in the adult central nervous system of Drosophila include modulation of olfactory processing and inhibition of male-male courtship behavior.