The Drosophila Ncc69 gene encodes a Na + -K + -2Cl − -cotransporter (NKCC) that is critical for regulating intra- and extracellular ionic conditions in different tissues. Here, we show that the Ncc69 transporter is necessary for fly vision and that its expression is required non-autonomously in glia to maintain visual synaptic transmission. Flies mutant for Ncc69 exhibit normal photoreceptor depolarization in response to a light pulse but lack the ON and OFF-transients characteristic of postsynaptic responses of lamina neurons, indicating a failure in synaptic transmission. We also find that synaptic transmission requires the Ncc69 regulatory kinases WNK and Fray in glia. The ERG phenotype is associated with a defect in the recycling of the histamine neurotransmitter. Ncc69 mutants exhibit higher levels of the transport metabolite carcinine in lamina cartridges, with its accumulation most intense in the extracellular space. Our work reveals a novel role of glial NKCC transporters in synaptic transmission, possibly through regulating extracellular ionic conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas