Amiloride sensitivity is a common characteristic of structurally related cationic channels that are associated with a wide range of physiological functions. In Caenorhabditis elegans, neuronal and muscular degenerins are involved in mechanoperception. In animal epithelia, a Na(+)-selective channel participates in vectorial Na+ transport. In the snail nervous system, an ionotropic receptor for the peptide FMRFamide forms a Na(+)-selective channel. In mammalian brain and/or in sensory neurons, ASIC channels form H(+)-activated cation channels involved in nociception linked to acidosis. We have now cloned a new member of this family from Drosophila melanogaster. The corresponding protein displays low sequence identity with the previously cloned members of the super-family but it has the same structural organization. Its mRNA was detected from late embryogenesis (14-17 hours) and was present in the dendritic arbor subtype of the Drosophila peripheral nervous system multiple dendritic (md) sensory neurons. While the origin and specification of md neurons are well documented, their roles are still poorly understood. They could function as stretch or touch receptors, raising the possibility that this Drosophila gene product, called dmdNaC1, could also be involved in mechanotransduction.