Drosophila larvae innately show light avoidance behavior. Compared with robust blue-light avoidance, larvae exhibit relatively weaker green-light responses. In our previous screening for genes involved in larval light avoidance, compared with control w1118 larvae, larvae with γ-glutamyl transpeptidase 1 (Ggt-1) knockdown or Ggt-1 mutation were found to exhibit higher percentage of green-light avoidance which was mediated by Rhodopsin6 (Rh6) photoreceptors. However, their responses to blue light did not change significantly. By adjusting the expression level of Ggt-1 in different tissues, we found that Ggt-1 in malpighian tubules was both necessary and sufficient for green-light avoidance. Our results showed that glutamate levels were lower in Ggt-1 null mutants compared with controls. Feeding Ggt-1 null mutants glutamate can normalize green-light avoidance, indicating that high glutamate concentrations suppressed larval green-light avoidance. However, rather than directly, glutamate affected green-light avoidance indirectly through GABA, the level of which was also lower in Ggt-1 mutants compared with controls. Mutants in glutamate decarboxylase 1, which encodes GABA synthase, and knockdown lines of the GABAA receptor, both exhibit elevated levels of green-light avoidance. Thus, our results elucidate the neurobiological mechanisms mediating green-light avoidance, which was inhibited in wild-type larvae.
We proposed the role of GGT-1 in the inhibition of Drosophila green-light avoidance. GGT-1 in malpighian tubules regulates glutamate levels, and further affects GABA concentrations, which functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter at the GABAA receptor RDL to suppress responses to green light. These findings elucidate the mechanisms mediating inhibition of green-light avoidance and may explain differential responses to light of different colors.