Or47b plays a role in Drosophila males' preference for younger mates.
ABSTRACT: Reproductive behaviour is important for animals to keep their species existing on Earth. A key question is how to generate more and healthier progenies by choosing optimal mates. In Drosophila melanogaster, males use multiple sensory cues, including vision, olfaction and gustation, to achieve reproductive success. These sensory inputs are important, yet not all these different modalities are simultaneously required for courtship behaviour to occur. Moreover, the roles of these sensory inputs for male courtship choice remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that males court younger females with greater preference and that olfactory inputs are indispensable for this male courtship choice. Specifically, the olfactory receptor Or47b is required for males to discriminate younger female mates from older ones. In combination with our previous work indicating that gustatory perception is necessary for this preference behaviour, our current study demonstrates the requirement of both olfaction and gustation in Drosophila males' courtship preference, thus providing new insights into the role of sensory cues in reproductive behaviour and success.
Project description:In any gamogenetic species, attraction between individuals of the opposite sex promotes reproductive success that guarantees their thriving. Consequently, mate determination between two sexes is effortless for an animal. However, choosing a spouse from numerous attractive partners of the opposite sex needs deliberation. In Drosophila melanogaster, both younger virgin females and older ones are equally liked options to males; nevertheless, when given options, males prefer younger females to older ones. Non-volatile cuticular hydrocarbons, considered as major pheromones in Drosophila, constitute females' sexual attraction that act through males' gustatory receptors (Grs) to elicit male courtship. To date, only a few putative Grs are known to play roles in male courtship. Here we report that loss of Gr33a function or abrogating the activity of Gr33a neurons does not disrupt male-female courtship, but eliminates males' preference for younger mates. Furthermore, ectopic expression of human amyloid precursor protein (APP) in Gr33a neurons abolishes males' preference behavior. Such function of APP is mediated by the transcription factor forkhead box O (dFoxO). These results not only provide mechanistic insights into Drosophila male courtship preference, but also establish a novel Drosophila model for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Project description:Birds choose mates on the basis of colour, song and body size, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying these mating decisions. Reports that zebra finches prefer to view mates with the right eye during courtship, and that immediate early gene expression associated with courtship behaviour is lateralized in their left hemisphere suggest that visual mate choice itself may be lateralized. To test this hypothesis, we used the Gouldian finch, a polymorphic species in which individuals exhibit strong, adaptive visual preferences for mates of their own head colour. Black males were tested in a mate-choice apparatus under three eye conditions: left-monocular, right-monocular and binocular. We found that black male preference for black females is so strongly lateralized in the right-eye/left-hemisphere system that if the right eye is unavailable, males are unable to respond preferentially, not only to males and females of the same morph, but also to the strikingly dissimilar female morphs. Courtship singing is consistent with these lateralized mate preferences; more black males sing to black females when using their right eye than when using their left. Beauty, therefore, is in the right eye of the beholder for these songbirds, providing, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of visual mate choice lateralization.
Project description:Drosophila performs elaborate well-defined rituals of courtship, which involve several types of sensory inputs. Here, we report that Or47b-neurons promote male-mating success. Males with Or47b-neurons silenced/ablated exhibit reduced copulation frequency and increased copulation latency. Copulation latency of Or47b-manipulated flies increased proportionately with size of the assay arena, whereas in controls it remained unchanged. While competing for mates, Or47b-ablated males are outperformed by intact controls. These results suggest the role of Or47b-neurons in promoting male-mating success.
Project description:Animal migration can lead to a population distribution known as seasonal sympatry, in which closely-related migrant and resident populations of the same species co-occur in sympatry during part of the year, but are otherwise allopatric. During seasonal sympatry in early spring, residents may initiate reproduction before migrants depart, presenting an opportunity for gene flow. Differences in reproductive timing between migrant and resident populations may favor residents that exhibit preferences for potential mates of similar migratory behavior and reproductive timing, thus maintaining population divergence. We studied dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), a songbird that exhibits seasonal sympatry. We conducted simulated courtship interactions in which we presented free-living resident males with either a caged migrant or resident female and quantified courtship behavior prior to the departure of the migrants. We found that resident males preferred to court resident females: they sang more short-range songs and exhibited more visual displays associated with courtship when presented with resident females. We conclude that males distinguish between migrant and resident females during seasonal sympatry when the risk of interacting with non-reproductive, migrant females is high. Male mate choice in seasonal sympatry is likely adaptive for male reproductive success. As a secondary effect, male mating preference could act to maintain or promote divergence between populations that differ in migratory strategy.
Project description:Courtship rituals serve to reinforce reproductive barriers between closely related species. Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans exhibit reproductive isolation, owing in part to the fact that D. melanogaster females produce 7,11-heptacosadiene, a pheromone that promotes courtship in D. melanogaster males but suppresses courtship in D. simulans males. Here we compare pheromone-processing pathways in D. melanogaster and D. simulans males to define how these sister species endow 7,11-heptacosadiene with the opposite behavioural valence to underlie species discrimination. We show that males of both species detect 7,11-heptacosadiene using homologous peripheral sensory neurons, but this signal is differentially propagated to P1 neurons, which control courtship behaviour. A change in the balance of excitation and inhibition onto courtship-promoting neurons transforms an excitatory pheromonal cue in D. melanogaster into an inhibitory cue in D. simulans. Our results reveal how species-specific pheromone responses can emerge from conservation of peripheral detection mechanisms and diversification of central circuitry, and demonstrate how flexible nodes in neural circuits can contribute to behavioural evolution.
Project description:Communication in cuttlefish includes rapid changes in skin coloration and texture, body posture and movements, and potentially polarized signals. The dynamic displays are fundamental for mate choice and agonistic behavior. We analyzed the reproductive behavior of the mourning cuttlefish Sepia plangon in the laboratory. Mate preference was analyzed via choice assays (n = 33) under three sex ratios, 1 male (M): 1 female (F), 2M:1F, and 1M:2F. We evaluated the effect of modifying polarized light from the arms stripes and ambient light with polarized and unpolarized barriers between the cuttlefish. Additionally, to assess whether a particular trait was a determinant for mating, we used 3D printed cuttlefish dummies. The dummies had different sets of visual signals: two sizes (60 or 90 mm mantle length), raised or dropped arms, high or low contrast body coloration, and polarized or unpolarized filters to simulate the arms stripes. Frequency and duration (s) of courtship displays, mating, and agonistic behaviors were analyzed with GLM and ANOVAs. The behaviors, body patterns, and their components were integrated into an ethogram to describe the reproductive behavior of S. plangon. We identified 18 body patterns, 57 body patterns components, and three reproductive behaviors (mating, courtship, and mate guarding). Only sex ratio had a significant effect on courtship frequency, and the male courtship success rate was 80%. Five small (ML < 80 mm) males showed the dual-lateral display to access mates while avoiding fights with large males; this behavior is characteristic of male "sneaker" cuttlefish. Winner males showed up to 17 body patterns and 33 components, whereas loser males only showed 12 patterns and 24 components. We identified 32 combinations of body patterns and components that tended to occur in a specific order and were relevant for mating success in males. Cuttlefish were visually aware of the 3D-printed dummies; however, they did not start mating or agonistic behavior toward the dummies. Our findings suggest that in S. plangon, the dynamic courtship displays with specific sequences of visual signals, and the sex ratio are critical for mate choice and mating success.
Project description:Insects respond to the spatial and temporal dynamics of a pheromone plume, which implies not only a strong response to 'odor on', but also to 'odor off'. This requires mechanisms geared toward a fast signal termination. Several mechanisms may contribute to signal termination, among which odorant-degrading enzymes. These enzymes putatively play a role in signal dynamics by a rapid inactivation of odorants in the vicinity of the sensory receptors, although direct in vivo experimental evidences are lacking. Here we verified the role of an extracellular carboxylesterase, esterase-6 (Est-6), in the sensory physiological and behavioral dynamics of Drosophila melanogaster response to its pheromone, cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA). Est-6 was previously linked to post-mating effects in the reproductive system of females. As Est-6 is also known to hydrolyze cVA in vitro and is expressed in the main olfactory organ, the antenna, we tested here its role in olfaction as a putative odorant-degrading enzyme.We first confirm that Est-6 is highly expressed in olfactory sensilla, including cVA-sensitive sensilla, and we show that expression is likely associated with non-neuronal cells. Our electrophysiological approaches show that the dynamics of olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) responses is strongly influenced by Est-6, as in Est-6° null mutants (lacking the Est-6 gene) cVA-sensitive ORN showed increased firing rate and prolonged activity in response to cVA. Est-6° mutant males had a lower threshold of behavioral response to cVA, as revealed by the analysis of two cVA-induced behaviors. In particular, mutant males exhibited a strong decrease of male-male courtship, in association with a delay in courtship initiation.Our study presents evidence that Est-6 plays a role in the physiological and behavioral dynamics of sex pheromone response in Drosophila males and supports a role of Est-6 as an odorant-degrading enzyme (ODE) in male antennae. Our results also expand the role of Est-6 in Drosophila biology, from reproduction to olfaction, and highlight the role of ODEs in insect olfaction.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The sand fly Phlebotomus argentipes is arguably the most important vector of leishmaniasis worldwide. As there is no vaccine against the parasites that cause leishmaniasis, disease prevention focuses on control of the insect vector. Understanding reproductive behaviour will be essential to controlling populations of P. argentipes, and developing new strategies for reducing leishmaniasis transmission. Through statistical analysis of male-female interactions, this study provides a detailed description of P. argentipes courtship, and behaviours critical to mating success are highlighted. The potential for a role of cuticular hydrocarbons in P. argentipes courtship is also investigated, by comparing chemicals extracted from the surface of male and female flies. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:P. argentipes courtship shared many similarities with that of both Phlebotomus papatasi and the New World leishmaniasis vector Lutzomyia longipalpis. Male wing-flapping while approaching the female during courtship predicted mating success, and touching between males and females was a common and frequent occurrence. Both sexes were able to reject a potential partner. Significant differences were found in the profile of chemicals extracted from the surface of males and females. Results of GC analysis indicate that female extracts contained a number of peaks with relatively short retention times not present in males. Extracts from males had higher peaks for chemicals with relatively long retention times. CONCLUSIONS:The importance of male approach flapping suggests that production of audio signals through wing beating, or dispersal of sex pheromones, are important to mating in this species. Frequent touching as a means of communication, and the differences in the chemical profiles extracted from males and females, may also indicate a role for cuticular hydrocarbons in P. argentipes courtship. Comparing characteristics of successful and unsuccessful mates could aid in identifying the modality of signals involved in P. argentipes courtship, and their potential for use in developing new strategies for vector control.
Project description:Sexual behaviors in animals are governed by inputs from multiple external sensory modalities. However, how these inputs are integrated to jointly control animal behavior is still poorly understood. Whereas visual information alone is not sufficient to induce courtship behavior in Drosophila melanogaster males, when a subset of male-specific fruitless (fru)- and doublesex (dsx)-expressing neurons that respond to chemosensory cues (P1 neurons) were artificially activated via a temperature-sensitive cation channel (dTRPA1), males followed and extended their wing toward moving objects (even a moving piece of rubber band) intensively. When stationary, these objects were not courted. Our results indicate that motion input and activation of P1 neurons are individually necessary, and under our assay conditions, jointly sufficient to elicit early courtship behaviors, and provide insights into how courtship decisions are made via sensory integration.
Project description:Males of Drosophila melanogaster exhibit stereotypic courtship behavior through which they assess potential mates by processing multimodal sensory information. Although previous studies revealed important neural circuits involved in this process, the full picture of circuits that participate in male courtship remains elusive. Here, we established a genetic tool to visualize or optogenetically reactivate neural circuits activated upon specific behavior, exploiting promoter activity of a neural activity-induced gene Hr38 With this approach, we visualized neural circuits activated in the male brain and the ventral nerve cord when a male interacted with a female. The labeling of neural circuits was additively dependent on inputs from antennae and foreleg tarsi. In addition, neural circuits that express the sex-determining gene fruitless or doublesex were extensively labeled by interaction with a female. Furthermore, optogenetic reactivation of the labeled neural circuits induced courtship posture. With this mapping system, we found that a fruitless-positive neural cluster aSP2 was labeled when a male interacted with a female, in addition to previously characterized neurons. Silencing of neurons including aSP2 led to frequent interruption of courtship and significant reduction of mating success rate without affecting latency to start courtship, suggesting that these neurons are required for courtship persistency important for successful copulation. Overall, these results demonstrate that activity-dependent labeling can be used as a powerful tool not only in vertebrates, but also in invertebrates, to identify neural circuits regulating innate behavior.