A single pair of neurons modulates egg-laying decisions in Drosophila

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Abstract

Animals have to judge environmental cues and choose the most suitable option for them from many different options. Female fruit flies selecting an optimum site to deposit their eggs is a biologically important reproductive behavior. When given the direct choice between ovipositing their eggs in a sucrose-containing medium or a caffeine-containing medium, female flies prefer the latter. However, the neural circuits and molecules that regulate this decision-making processes during egg-laying site selection remain poorly understood. In the present study, we found that amnesiac (amn) mutant flies show significant defects in egg-laying decisions, and such defects can be reversed by expressing the wild-type amn transgene in two dorsal paired medial (DPM) neurons in the brain. Silencing neuronal activity with an inward rectifier potassium channel (Kir2.1) in DPM neurons also impairs egg-laying decisions. Finally, the activity in mushroom body αβ neurons is required for the egg-laying behavior, suggesting a possible "DPM-αβ neurons" brain circuit modulating egg-laying decisions. Our results highlight the brain circuits and molecular mechanisms of egg-laying decisions in Drosophila.

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Wu, C. L., Fu, T. F., Chou, Y. Y., & Yeh, S. R. (2015). A single pair of neurons modulates egg-laying decisions in Drosophila. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0121335

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