Biologists discover a new type of tactile cell in fruit flies 22:25

Scientists have identified the role of a new cell type in detecting touches on the fruit fly’s body. Reported by the Francis Crick Institute.

The sense of touch enables animals to navigate their environment by collecting information from the outside world. Federica Mangione and Nicolas Tapon were interested in how the touch-sensitive organs fit into the body.

scientists discovered development of mechanical sensory hairs, which are tactile hairs resembling mammalian hair follicles, on the skin of the fruit fly. They found that the hairs send signals to neighboring cells in the epidermis to recruit a new type of cell called the F cell involved in touch perception.

The authors were able to visualize and characterize the structure and properties of F cells. It turns out that they have a unique shape that envelops the bristles. Using electrophysiology techniques, the biologists measured the neuron’s activity in response to a stimulus and showed that F cells are important for hair function. When they removed the F cells from the epidermis, neuronal firing in response to touch was greatly reduced.

Next, the authors performed behavioral tests. It turned out that the flies lacking F-cells were unable to scratch themselves with their claws in response to a light touch on the bristles and were insensitive to touch.

“We were very surprised to find a new cell type, as the epidermis is a well-studied structure,” the authors said of the study.

Previously in amber in Kaliningrad discovered Ancestor of the 40 million-year-old wasp.

Source: Gazeta


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