Most important information you must know about fruit fly in 2023

 Most important information you must know about fruit fly

Hey there! Have you heard about the latest research on fruit flies and their ability to detect alkaline substances? It turns out that researchers have discovered a whole new type of taste receptor in fruit flies that allows them to avoid toxic meals and surfaces.

This finding is surprising since fruit flies are such well-studied animals. According to Emily Liman, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California, "It is really beautiful work." The study, published in Nature Metabolism, could potentially inform future research into the physiological mechanisms underlying alkaline taste in other organisms.

Most animals function in a narrow pH range, which makes sensing acids and bases important for their survival. Studies in the past few decades have detailed the receptors, cells, and neural circuits involved in detecting sour and acidic tastes. However, sensing alkaline substances is not well understood. Some early work in people and cats suggests that the alkaline sensation could be a type of taste, but it's not proven.

To test the flies' preferences for foods with different pH levels, researchers presented them with a Petri dish of sweet gel that was either neutral or alkaline. The researchers found that the higher the pH of the alkaline food, the more the flies rejected it for the more neutral cuisine. However, one group of flies was not as good at distinguishing between the two meals. Screening of these flies revealed that they had a mutation in a gene that the researchers' named alkaliphile (or alka for short). The gene was found to be active in taste neurons at the fleshy tip of their elongated proboscis, as well as in cells at the ends of their feet and antennae.

In cell studies, the researchers found that the alka gene expresses a receptor protein, whose normal activity is stimulated by alkaline solutions. In the presence of a base, the receptor protein opens a channel in the cell membrane to let negatively charged chloride ions escape the neuron, immediately relaying a message to the fly's brain to avoid the food.

Although this specific finding may not be directly applicable to vertebrates, the study could spur research into whether vertebrates have similar types of chloride receptors and whether they experience a distinct alkaline taste.

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