Molecular and neural mechanisms regulating sexual motivation of virgin female Drosophila

Hiroshi Ishimoto, Azusa Kamikouchi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


During courtship, multiple information sources are integrated in the brain to reach a final decision, i.e., whether or not to mate. The brain functions for this complex behavior can be investigated by genetically manipulating genes and neurons, and performing anatomical, physiological, and behavioral analyses. Drosophila is a powerful model experimental system for such studies, which need to be integrated from molecular and cellular levels to the behavioral level, and has enabled pioneering research to be conducted. In male flies, which exhibit a variety of characteristic sexual behaviors, we have accumulated knowledge of many genes and neural circuits that control sexual behaviors. On the other hand, despite the importance of the mechanisms of mating decision-making in females from an evolutionary perspective (such as sexual selection), research on the mechanisms that control sexual behavior in females has progressed somewhat slower. In this review, we focus on the pre-mating behavior of female Drosophila melanogaster, and introduce previous key findings on the neuronal and molecular mechanisms that integrate sensory information and selective expression of behaviors toward the courting male.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4805-4819
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral switching
  • Decision-making
  • Drosophila
  • Sensory integration
  • Sexual receptivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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