Female Contact Activates Male-Specific Interneurons that Trigger Stereotypic Courtship Behavior in Drosophila

Soh Kohatsu, Masayuki Koganezawa, Daisuke Yamamoto

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    155 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We determined the cellular substrate for male courtship behavior by quasinatural and artificial stimulation of brain neurons. Activation of fruitless (fru)-expressing neurons via stimulation of thermosensitive dTrpA1 channels induced an entire series of courtship acts in male Drosophila placed alone without any courting target. By reducing the number of neurons expressing dTrpA1 by MARCM, we demonstrated that the initiation of courtship behavior is significantly correlated with the activation of the transmidline P1 interneurons, the descending P2b interneurons, or both, indicating that these interneurons trigger courtship. Using an experimental paradigm in which a tethered male can be stimulated to initiate courtship by touching his foreleg tarsus to a female's abdomen, we found that P1 neurites of tethered males showed a transient Ca2+ rise after tarsal stimulation with the female-associated sensory cues. These observations strongly suggest that P1 neurons are the prime components of the neural circuitry that initiates male courtship.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)498-508
    Number of pages11
    JournalNeuron
    Volume69
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 10

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)

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