Calcium-activated potassium channel gene expression in the midgut of Drosophila

Robert Brenner, Nigel S. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The slowpoke gene of Drosophila encodes a pore-forming subunit of a BK-type Ca2+-activated K+ channel. The gene is expressed in neurons, muscles, tracheal cells and in the midgut. The P1 transgene gene contains the entire slowpoke transcriptional control region and drives the expression of a reporter protein comprised of slowpoke amino terminal sequences fused to β-galactosidase. Here we show that midgut expression is limited to the copper cell and iron cell regions. The copper cell region is composed of two cell types, the copper cells and the interstitial cells. The P1 transgene is expressed in the interstitial cells but not the copper cells. Furthemore, we show that the reporter protein is apically localized in the interstitial cells. In these cells, the slowpoke Ca2+-activated K+ channel is thought to participate in the transport of ions between the hemolymph and the lumen of the gut. Subcellularly localized BK channels may be involved in the secretion of acid into the gut lumen. An analogous role for basolaterally localized BK channels has been proposed in the acid secreting intercalating cells of the human kidney.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-420
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • BK channel
  • Calcium-activated
  • Drosophila
  • Epithelia
  • Gene regulation
  • Midgut
  • Potassium channel
  • Subcellular localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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