The SLC6 family comprises proteins that move extracellular neurotransmitters, amino acids and osmolytes across the plasma membrane into the cytosol. In mammals, deletion of SLC6 family members has dramatic physiologic consequences, but in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, little is known about this family of proteins. Therefore, in this study we carried out an initial analysis of 21 known or putative SLC6 family members from the Drosophila genome. Protein sequences from these genes segregated into either well-defined subfamilies, including the novel insect amino acid transporter subfamily, or into a group of weakly related sequences not affiliated with a recognized subfamily. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis and in situ hybridization showed that seven of these genes are expressed in the CNS. In situ hybridization revealed that two previously cloned SLC6 members, the serotonin and dopamine transporters, were localized to presumptive presynaptic neurons that previously immunolabelled for these transmitters. RNA for CG1732 (the putative GABA transporter) and CG15088 (a member of the novel insect amino acid transporter family) was localized in cells likely to be subtypes of glia, while RNA for CG5226, CG10804 (both members of the orphan neurotransmitter transporter subfamily) and CG5549 (a putative glycine transporter) were expressed broadly throughout the cellular cortex of the CNS. Eight of the 21 sequences were localized outside the CNS in the alimentary canal, Malpighian tubules and reproductive organs. Localization for six sequences was not found or not attempted in the adult fly. We used the Drosophila ortholog of the mammalian vesicular monoamine transporter 2, CG33528, to independently identify monoaminergic neurons in the adult fly. RNA for CG33528 was detected in a limited number of cells in the central brain and in a beaded stripe at the base of the photoreceptors in the position of glia, but not in the photoreceptors themselves. The SLC6 localization observations in conjunction with likely substrates based on phylogenetic inferences are a first step in defining the role of Na/Cl-dependent transporters in Drosophila physiology.


Biological Sciences

Keywords and Phrases

In Situ Hybridization; Na/Cl-Dependent Transporters

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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© 2006 M. Thimgan et. al., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2006

PubMed ID


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