The trp gene is essential for a light-activated Ca2+ channel in Drosophila photoreceptors

Neuron. 1992 Apr;8(4):643-51. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(92)90086-s.


Invertebrate phototransduction is an important model system for studying the ubiquitous inositol-lipid signaling system. In the transient receptor potential (trp) mutant, one of the most intensively studied transduction mutants of Drosophila, the light response quickly declines to baseline during prolonged intense light. Using whole-cell recordings from Drosophila photoreceptors, we show that the wild-type response is mediated by at least two functionally distinct classes of light-sensitive channels and that both the trp mutation and a Ca2+ channel blocker (La3+) selectively abolish one class of channel with high Ca2+ permeability. Evidence is also presented that Ca2+ is necessary for excitation and that Ca2+ depletion mimics the trp phenotype. We conclude that the recently sequenced trp protein represents a class of light-sensitive channel required for inositide-mediated Ca2+ entry and suggest that this process is necessary for maintained excitation during intense illumination in fly photoreceptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Genes*
  • Ion Channel Gating
  • Lanthanum / physiology
  • Light
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Phenotype
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Calcium Channels
  • Lanthanum
  • Calcium