Neuropeptide F regulates courtship in Drosophila through a male-specific neuronal circuit.
ABSTRACT: Male courtship is provoked by perception of a potential mate. In addition, the likelihood and intensity of courtship are influenced by recent mating experience, which affects sexual drive. Using Drosophila melanogaster, we found that the homolog of mammalian neuropeptide Y, neuropeptide F (NPF), and a cluster of male-specific NPF (NPFM) neurons, regulate courtship through affecting courtship drive. Disrupting NPF signaling produces sexually hyperactive males, which are resistant to sexual satiation, and whose courtship is triggered by sub-optimal stimuli. We found that NPFM neurons make synaptic connections with P1 neurons, which comprise the courtship decision center. Activation of P1 neurons elevates NPFM neuronal activity, which then act through NPF receptor neurons to suppress male courtship, and maintain the proper level of male courtship drive.
Project description:Drosophila neuropeptide F (NPF), a homolog of vertebrate neuropeptide Y, functions in feeding and coordination of behavioral changes in larvae and in modulation of alcohol sensitivity in adults, suggesting diverse roles for this peptide. To gain more insight into adult-specific NPF neuronal functions, we studied how npf expression is regulated in the adult brain. Here, we report that npf expression is regulated in both sex-nonspecific and male-specific manners. Our data show that male-specific npf (ms-npf) expression is controlled by the transformer (tra)-dependent sex-determination pathway. Furthermore, fruitless, one of the major genes functioning downstream of tra, is apparently an upstream regulator of ms-npf transcription. Males lacking ms-npf expression (through tra(F)-mediated feminization) or npf-ablated male flies display significantly reduced male courtship activity, suggesting that one function of ms-npf neurons is to modulate fruitless-regulated sexual behavior. Interestingly, one of the ms-npf neuronal groups belongs to the previously defined clock-controlling dorsolateral neurons. Such ms-npf expression in the dorsolateral neurons is absent in arrhythmic Clock(Jrk) and cycle(02) mutants, suggesting that npf is under dual regulation by circadian and sex-determining factors. Based on these data, we propose that NPF also plays a role in clock-controlled sexual dimorphism in adult Drosophila.
Project description:Sleep is essential but incompatible with other behaviors, and thus sleep drive competes with other motivations. We previously showed Drosophila males balance sleep and courtship via octopaminergic neurons that act upstream of courtship-regulating P1 neurons (Machado et al., 2017). Here, we show nutrition modulates the sleep-courtship balance and identify sleep-regulatory neurons downstream of P1 neurons. Yeast-deprived males exhibited attenuated female-induced nighttime sleep loss yet normal daytime courtship, which suggests male flies consider nutritional status in deciding whether the potential benefit of pursuing female partners outweighs the cost of losing sleep. Trans-synaptic tracing and calcium imaging identified dopaminergic neurons projecting to the protocerebral bridge (DA-PB) as postsynaptic partners of P1 neurons. Activation of DA-PB neurons led to reduced sleep in normally fed but not yeast-deprived males. Additional PB-projecting neurons regulated male sleep, suggesting several groups of PB-projecting neurons act downstream of P1 neurons to mediate nutritional modulation of the sleep-courtship balance.
Project description:Courtship in Drosophila melanogaster offers a powerful experimental paradigm for the study of innate sexually dimorphic behaviors [1, 2]. Fruit fly males exhibit an elaborate courtship display toward a potential mate [1, 2]. Females never actively court males, but their response to the male's display determines whether mating will actually occur. Sex-specific behaviors are hardwired into the nervous system via the actions of the sex determination genes doublesex (dsx) and fruitless (fru) . Activation of male-specific dsx/fru(+) P1 neurons in the brain initiates the male's courtship display [3, 4], suggesting that neurons unique to males trigger this sex-specific behavior. In females, dsx(+) neurons play a pivotal role in sexual receptivity and post-mating behaviors [1, 2, 5-9]. Yet it is still unclear how dsx(+) neurons and dimorphisms in these circuits give rise to the different behaviors displayed by males and females. Here, we manipulated the function of dsx(+) neurons in the female brain to investigate higher-order neurons that drive female behaviors. Surprisingly, we found that activation of female dsx(+) neurons in the brain induces females to behave like males by promoting male-typical courtship behaviors. Activated females display courtship toward conspecific males or females, as well other Drosophila species. We uncovered specific dsx(+) neurons critical for driving male courtship and identified pheromones that trigger such behaviors in activated females. While male courtship behavior was thought to arise from male-specific central neurons, our study shows that the female brain is equipped with latent courtship circuitry capable of inducing this male-specific behavioral program.
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:Throughout the animal kingdom, internal states generate long-lasting and self-perpetuating chains of behavior. In Drosophila, males instinctively pursue females with a lengthy and elaborate courtship ritual triggered by activation of sexually dimorphic P1 interneurons. Gustatory pheromones are thought to activate P1 neurons but the circuit mechanisms that dictate their sensory responses to gate entry into courtship remain unknown. Here, we use circuit mapping and in vivo functional imaging techniques to trace gustatory and olfactory pheromone circuits to their point of convergence onto P1 neurons and reveal how their combined input underlies selective tuning to appropriate sexual partners. We identify inhibition, even in response to courtship-promoting pheromones, as a key circuit element that tunes and tempers P1 neuron activity. Our results suggest a circuit mechanism in which balanced excitation and inhibition underlie discrimination of prospective mates and stringently regulate the transition to courtship in Drosophila.
Project description:Animals execute one particular behavior among many others in a context-dependent manner, yet the mechanisms underlying such behavioral choice remain poorly understood. Here we studied how two fundamental behaviors, sex and sleep, interact at genetic and neuronal levels in Drosophila. We show that an increased need for sleep inhibits male sexual behavior by decreasing the activity of the male-specific P1 neurons that coexpress the sex determination genes fru M and dsx, but does not affect female sexual behavior. Further, we delineate a sex-specific neuronal circuit wherein the P1 neurons encoding increased courtship drive suppressed male sleep by forming mutually excitatory connections with the fru M -positive sleep-controlling DN1 neurons. In addition, we find that FRUM regulates male courtship and sleep through distinct neural substrates. These studies reveal the genetic and neuronal basis underlying the sex-specific interaction between sleep and sexual behaviors in Drosophila, and provide insights into how competing behaviors are co-regulated.Genes and circuits involved in sleep and sexual arousal have been extensively studied in Drosophila. Here the authors identify the sex determination genes fruitless and doublesex, and a sex-specific P1-DN1 neuronal feedback that governs the interaction between these competing behaviors.
Project description:In Drosophila melanogaster, fruitless (fru) encodes male-specific transcription factors (FRU(M); encoded by fru P1) required for courtship behaviors (reviewed in). However, downstream effectors of FRU(M) throughout development are largely unknown. During metamorphosis the nervous system is remodeled for adult function, the timing of which is coordinated by the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (ecdysone) through the ecdysone receptor, a heterodimer of the nuclear receptors EcR (isoforms are EcR-A, EcR-B1, or EcR-B2) and Ultraspiracle (USP) (reviewed in). Here, we show that genes identified as regulated downstream of FRU(M) during metamorphosis are significantly overrepresented with genes known to be regulated in response to ecdysone or EcR. FRU(M) and EcR isoforms are coexpressed in neurons in the CNS during metamorphosis in an isoform-specific manner. Reduction of EcR-A levels in fru P1-expressing neurons of males caused a significant increase in male-male courtship activity and significant reduction in size of two antennal lobe glomeruli. Additional genes were identified that are regulated downstream of EcR-A in fru P1-expressing neurons. Thus, EcR-A is required in fru P1-expressing neurons for wild-type male courtship behaviors and the establishment of male-specific neuronal architecture.
Project description:Animals choose among sleep, courtship, and feeding behaviors based on the integration of both external sensory cues and internal states; such choices are essential for survival and reproduction. These competing behaviors are closely related and controlled by distinct neural circuits, but whether they are also regulated by shared neural nodes is unclear. Here, we investigated how a set of male-specific P1 neurons controls sleep, courtship, and feeding behaviors in Drosophila males. We found that mild activation of P1 neurons was sufficient to affect sleep, but not courtship or feeding, while stronger activation of P1 neurons labeled by four out of five independent drivers induced courtship, but only the driver that targeted the largest number of P1 neurons affected feeding. These results reveal a common neural node that affects sleep, courtship, and feeding in a threshold-dependent manner, and provide insights into how competing behaviors can be regulated by a shared neural node.
Project description:The innate sexual behaviors of Drosophila melanogaster males are an attractive system for elucidating how complex behavior patterns are generated. The potential for male sexual behavior in D. melanogaster is specified by the fruitless (fru) and doublesex (dsx) sex regulatory genes. We used the temperature-sensitive activator dTRPA1 to probe the roles of fru(M)- and dsx-expressing neurons in male courtship behaviors. Almost all steps of courtship, from courtship song to ejaculation, can be induced at very high levels through activation of either all fru(M) or all dsx neurons in solitary males. Detailed characterizations reveal different roles for fru(M) and dsx in male courtship. Surprisingly, the system for mate discrimination still works well when all dsx neurons are activated, but is impaired when all fru(M) neurons are activated. Most strikingly, we provide evidence for a fru(M)-independent courtship pathway that is primarily vision dependent.
Project description:Neuromodulators influence the activities of collections of neurons and have profound impacts on animal behavior. Male courtship drive is complex and subject to neuromodulatory control. Using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, we identified neurons in the brain (inferior posterior slope; IPS) that impact courtship drive and were controlled by tyramine-a biogenic amine related to dopamine, whose roles in most animals are enigmatic. We knocked out a tyramine-specific receptor, TyrR, which was expressed in IPS neurons. Loss of TyrR led to a striking elevation in courtship activity between males. This effect occurred only in the absence of females, as TyrR(Gal4) mutant males exhibited a wild-type preference for females. Artificial hyperactivation of IPS neurons caused a large increase in male-male courtship, whereas suppression of IPS activity decreased male-female courtship. We conclude that TyrR is a receptor for tyramine, and suggest that it serves to curb high levels of courtship activity through functioning as an inhibitory neuromodulator.