• Dopamine;
  • Drosophila;
  • D1- and D2-like receptors;
  • nephrocytes;
  • toxic stress resistance


Filtration of haemolymph in insects to remove waste products is performed by nephrocytes, which comprise accessory cells of the circulatory system that are not connected to Malpighian tubules. There are two types of nephrocytes in Drosophila: ventral cells, situated around the junction between the cardia and the oesophagus, and pericardial cells, situated around the heart. In the present study, the expression of dopamine D1 (DopR) and D2-like (DD2R) receptors in the ventral nephrocytes of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is investigated. Immunohistochemical staining with polyclonal antibodies against DopR and DD2R demonstrates the presence of these receptors in adult nephrocytes. The functioning of D. melanogaster nephrocytes is investigated by evaluation of mortality rates in flies treated with silver nitrate (AgNO3) compared with untreated controls. To determine whether a change in the level of dopamine receptors has an effect on the functioning of nephrocytes, the antisense suppressor of DD2R gene together with a nephrocyte-specific driver is used in the UAS-GAL4 system. The suppression of DD2R in nephrocytes results in a significant decrease of mortality under toxic conditions. Taken together, the data obtained in the present study indicate that dopamine takes part in the control of ventral nephrocyte functioning in D. melanogaster.