UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Yang Xiang Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Cells | Genetic Phenomena | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


At the cellular level, alpha-tubulin acetylation alters the structure of microtubules to render them mechanically resistant to compressive forces. How this biochemical property of microtubule acetylation relates to mechanosensation remains unknown, although prior studies have shown that microtubule acetylation influences touch perception. Here, we identify the major Drosophila alpha-tubulin acetylase (dTAT) and show that it plays key roles in several forms of mechanosensation. dTAT is highly expressed in the larval peripheral nervous system (PNS), but it is largely dispensable for neuronal morphogenesis. Mutation of the acetylase gene or the K40 acetylation site in alpha-tubulin impairs mechanical sensitivity in sensory neurons and behavioral responses to gentle touch, harsh touch, gravity, and vibration stimuli, but not noxious thermal stimulus. Finally, we show that dTAT is required for mechanically induced activation of NOMPC, a microtubule-associated transient receptor potential channel, and functions to maintain integrity of the microtubule cytoskeleton in response to mechanical stimulation.


Drosophila, TRP channel, mechanosensation, microtubule acetylation, somatosensory neuron

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Under a Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI of Published Version



Cell Rep. 2018 Oct 23;25(4):1051-1065.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.09.075. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cell reports


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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