Hormonally controlled chloride movement across Drosophila tubules is via ion channels in stellate cells
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Anion conductance across the Drosophila melanogaster Malpighian (renal) tubule was investigated by a combination of physiological and transgenic techniques. Patch-clamp recordings identified clusters of 4, 4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (DIDS)-sensitive "maxi-chloride" channels in a small domain of the apical membrane. Fluid secretion assays demonstrated sensitivity to the chloride channel blockers 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino)benzoic acid, diphenylamine-2-carboxylate, anthracene-9-carboxylic acid, and niflumic acid. Electrophysiological analysis showed that the calcium-mediated increase in anion conductance was blocked by the same agents. Vibrating probe analysis revealed a small number of current density hot spots, coincident with "stellate" cells, that were abolished by low-chloride saline or the same chloride channel blockers. GAL-4-targeted expression of an aequorin transgene revealed that the neurohormone leucokinin elicits a rapid increase in intracellular calcium levels in stellate cells that precedes the fastest demonstrable physiological effect. Taken together, these data show that leucokinins act on stellate cells through intracellular calcium to increase transcellular chloride conductance through channels. As electrogenic cation conductance is confined to principal cells, the two pathways are spatially segregated in this tissue.
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