Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 200, Issue 4, pp 251–264 | Cite as

Neuroethology of male courtship in Drosophila: from the gene to behavior

  • Daisuke Yamamoto
  • Kosei Sato
  • Masayuki Koganezawa
Review

Abstract

Neurogenetic analyses in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster revealed that gendered behaviors, including courtship, are underpinned by sexually dimorphic neural circuitries, whose development is directed in a sex-specific manner by transcription factor genes, fruitless (fru) and doublesex (dsx), two core members composing the sex-determination cascade. Via chromatin modification the Fru proteins translated specifically in the male nervous system lead the fru-expressing neurons to take on the male fate, as manifested by their male-specific survival or male-specific neurite formations. One such male-specific neuron group, P1, was shown to be activated when the male taps the female abdomen. Moreover, when artificially activated, P1 neurons are sufficient to induce the entire repertoire of the male courtship ritual. These studies provide a conceptual framework for understanding how the genetic code for innate behavior can be embodied in the neuronal substrate.

Keywords

fruitless Sexual dimorphism Identified neurons Pheromones Chromatin 

Abbreviations

7-T

7-Tricosene

7,11-HD

7,11-Heptacosadiene

bon

bonus

cVA

cis-Vaccenyl acetate

DEG/ENaC

Degenerin/epithelial sodium channels

dsx

doublesex

dTrpA1

Drosophila transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily A1

EcR

Ecdysone receptor

EPSPs

Excitatory postsynaptic potentials

fru

fruitless

Gr

Gustatory receptor

HDAC1

Histone deacetylase 1

HP1

Heterochromatin protein 1

IR84a

Ionotropic receptor 84a

mAL

Medially located just above the antennal lobe

Or67d

Olfactory receptor 67d

P2X2

ATP-activated P2X purinoceptor 2

ppk

pickpocket

SOG

Suboesophageal ganglion

TIF1

Transcription intermediary factor 1

TNT

Tetanus toxin light chain

tra

transformer

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors’ work is funded by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (24113502, 23220007, 1802012 to D.Y., 25132702 and 24700309 to K.S. and 24570082 and 23115702 to M.K.) from MEXT, the Strategic Japanese-French Cooperative Program from JST (D.Y.) and a Life Science Grant from the Takeda Science Foundation (D.Y. and K.S.). The authors thank M. Suyama and S. Abe for secretarial assistance.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daisuke Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Kosei Sato
    • 1
  • Masayuki Koganezawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of NeurogeneticsTohoku University Graduate School of Life SciencesSendaiJapan

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