Phototransduction in Drosophila occurs through the ubiquitous phosphoinositide-mediated signal transduction system. Major unresolved questions in this pathway are the identity and role of the internal calcium stores in light excitation and the mechanism underlying regulation of Ca2+ release from internal stores. Treatment of Drosophila photoreceptors with ryanodine and caffeine disrupted the current induced by light, whereas subsequent application of calcium-calmodulin (Ca-CaM) rescued the inactivated photoresponse. In calcium-deprived wild-type Drosophila and in calmodulin-deficient transgenic flies, the current induced by light was disrupted by a specific inhibitor of Ca-CaM. Furthermore, inhibition of Ca- CaM revealed light-induced release of calcium from intracellular stores. It appears that functional ryanodine-sensitive stores are essential for the photoresponse. Moreover, calcium release from these stores appears to be a component of Drosophila phototransduction, and Ca-CaM regulates this process.
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