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Rôle et fonctionnalité des récepteurs gustatifs dans les ailes de drosophiles

Abstract : Cognitive capacities used to ensure the exploration and discovery of new ecological niches are at the heart of the process of adaptation and survival of vertebrate and invertebrate species. In this respect, the neural chemosensory systems, composed of the olfactory and gustatory organs, allow the guidance and finding of food sources and/or sexual partners. A striking feature in insects and particularly in Drosophila is that gustatory organs are disseminated in the body. The anterior margin of the wing is lined with gustatory sensilla alternated with mechanosensory sensilla. The function of gustatory cells in the wing of Drosophila remains enigmatic and actually quite unknown (Stocker, 1994). Our work consisted in exploring the signaling and the transduction mechanisms of these receptors and in questioning their importance in the adaptation of insects to their ecosystem. Our results are based on three components. We have verified that the expression of gustatory receptors occurs in the wings of three different insects (Drosophila, aphid and honey bee) by RT-PCR. We have studied the function of these receptors vis-à-vis of sweet and bitter molecules using a transgenic line (G-CaMP) that exhibits a strong fluorescence provoked by cytosolic calcium picks. Finally, behavioral assays have been realized with a transgenic line (Poxn*) in which the chemosensory sensilla have been invalidated without altering the other olfactory and gustatory structures. Our results show a significant effect of wing chemosensory cells as far as orientation is space and Bayesian learning and have permitted us to elaborate hypothesis regarding the neuroanatomical evolution of the wing of insects since ancestral organisms of marine origin from which they derive. Experts in aerodynamics propose the creation of a vortex during flight that forms a spiral of air along the anterior border of the wing. The perfect superposition between this vortex and the costal nerve of the wing allows us to deduce that the vibrations of the insect wing between 50 and 1.000 Hertz are able to nebulize materials (microdust, microdrops, weakly volatile molecules), which are captured/trapped in the vortex and addressed to the gustatory sensilla. Our hypothesis is that this mechanism would let pollinator insects taste flowers without landing and without involving the proboscis. In this scenario insects would dissociate taste from ingestion, avoiding poisoning by toxic molecules emitted by plants and rending exploration more efficient by minimizing searching time.
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Hussein Raad. Rôle et fonctionnalité des récepteurs gustatifs dans les ailes de drosophiles. Sciences agricoles. Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013NICE4002⟩. ⟨tel-00921554⟩

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