Axonemal Dynein DNAH5 is Required for Sound Sensation in Drosophila Larvae

Bingxue Li1,2• Songling Li1,2• Zhiqiang Yan1,2

1 State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology and Ministry of Education Frontiers Center for Brain Science, Department of Physiology and Biophysics , Institute of Brain Science, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438,


2 Institute of Molecular Physiology, Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, Shenzhen 518132, China


Chordotonal neurons are responsible for sound sensation in Drosophila. However, little is known about how they respond to sound with high sensitivity. Using genetic labeling, we found one of the Drosophila axonemal dynein heavy chains, CG9492 (DNAH5), was specifically expressed in larval chordotonal neurons and showed a distribution restricted to proximal cilia. While DNAH5 mutation did not affect the cilium morphology or the trafficking of Inactive, a candidate auditory transduction channel, larvae with DNAH5 mutation had reduced startle responses to sound at low and medium intensities. Calcium imaging confirmed that DNAH5 functioned autonomously in chordotonal neurons for larval sound sensation. Furthermore, disrupting DNAH5 resulted in a decrease of spike firing responses to low-level sound in chordotonal neurons. Intriguingly, DNAH5 mutant larvae displayed an altered frequency tuning curve of the auditory organs. All together, our findings support a critical role of DNAH5 in tuning the frequency selectivity and the sound sensitivity of larval auditory neurons.


Chordotonal neuron ; Cilia ; Dynein ; Drosophila larvae ; Sound sensation


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