The Drosophila gene CheB42a is a novel modifier of Deg/ENaC channel function

PLoS One. 2010 Feb 24;5(2):e9395. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009395.


Degenerin/epithelial Na(+) channels (DEG/ENaC) represent a diverse family of voltage-insensitive cation channels whose functions include Na(+) transport across epithelia, mechanosensation, nociception, salt sensing, modification of neurotransmission, and detecting the neurotransmitter FMRFamide. We previously showed that the Drosophila melanogaster Deg/ENaC gene lounge lizard (llz) is co-transcribed in an operon-like locus with another gene of unknown function, CheB42a. Because operons often encode proteins in the same biochemical or physiological pathway, we hypothesized that CHEB42A and LLZ might function together. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found both genes expressed in cells previously implicated in sensory functions during male courtship. Furthermore, when coexpressed, LLZ coprecipitated with CHEB42A, suggesting that the two proteins form a complex. Although LLZ expressed either alone or with CHEB42A did not generate ion channel currents, CHEB42A increased current amplitude of another DEG/ENaC protein whose ligand (protons) is known, acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a). We also found that CHEB42A was cleaved to generate a secreted protein, suggesting that CHEB42A may play an important role in the extracellular space. These data suggest that CHEB42A is a modulatory subunit for sensory-related Deg/ENaC signaling. These results are consistent with operon-like transcription of CheB42a and llz and explain the similar contributions of these genes to courtship behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Sodium Channels / physiology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • CheB42a protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Ppk25 protein, Drosophila
  • Sodium Channels