L-glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter at neuromuscular junctions in insects. It may also be involved in neurotransmission within the central nervous system (CNS), but its function therein remains elusive. The roles of glutamatergic synapses in the Drosophila melanogaster CNS were investigated, with focus on the study of DmGluRA, a G-protein-coupled glutamate receptor. In a first attempt to determine the function of this receptor, we describe its distribution in the larval and adult Drosophila CNS, using a polyclonal antibody raised against the C-terminal sequence of the protein. DmGluRA is expressed in a reproducible pattern both in the larva and in the adult. In particular, DmGluRA can be found in the antennal lobes, the optic lobes, the central complex, and the median bundle in the adult CNS. However, DmGluRA-containing neurons represented only a small fraction of all CNS neurons. DmGluRA immunoreactivity was not detected at the larval neuromuscular junction nor in the body wall muscles. The correlations between DmGluRA distribution and previously described glutamate-like immunoreactivity patterns, as well as the implications of these observations concerning the possible functions of DmGluRA in the Drosophila CNS, are discussed.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.