Cilia are important eukaryotic cellular compartments required for diverse biological functions. Recent studies have revealed that protein targeting into the proper ciliary subcompartments is essential for ciliary function. In Drosophila chordotonal cilium, where mechano-electric transduction occurs, two transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily ion channels, TRPV and TRPN, are restricted to the proximal and distal subcompartments, respectively. To understand the mechanisms underlying the sub-ciliary segregation of the two TRPs, we analyzed their localization under various conditions. In developing chordotonal cilia, TRPN was directly targeted to the ciliary tip from the beginning of its appearance and was retained in the distal subcompartment throughout development, whereas the ciliary localization of TRPV was considerably delayed. Lack of intraflagella transport-related proteins affected TRPV from the initial stage of its pre-ciliary trafficking, whereas it affected TRPN from the ciliary entry stage. The ectopic expression of the two TRP channels in both ciliated and nonciliated cells revealed their intrinsic properties related to their localization. Taken together, our results suggest that subciliary segregation of the two TRP channels relies on their distinct intrinsic properties, and begins at the initial stage of their pre-ciliary trafficking.
Keywords: Drosophila; cilia; ciliary sub-compartment; intraflagella transport; transient receptor potential channel.