Myosin II actively regulates Drosophila proprioceptors


Guan C, Nishi K, Kreis CT, Baeumchen O, Goepfert MC, Schmidt CF




bioRxiv 2024.04.18.590050.


Auditory receptors can be motile to actively amplify their mechanical input. Here we describe a novel and different type of motility that, residing in supporting cells, shapes physiological responses of mechanoreceptor cells. In Drosophila larvae, supporting cap cells transmit mechanical stimuli to proprioceptive chordotonal neurons. We found that the cap cells are strongly pre-stretched at rest to twice their relaxed length. The tension in these cells is modulated by non-muscle myosin-II motors. Activating the motors optogenetically causes contractions of the cap cells. Cap-cell-specific knockdown of the regulatory light chain of myosin-II alters mechanically evoked receptor neuron responses, converting them from phasic to more tonic, impairing sensory adaptation. Hence, two motile mechanisms seem to operate in concert in insect chordotonal organs, one in the sensory receptor neurons, based on dynein, and the other in supporting cells, based on myosin.