Recently mated Drosophila females were shown to be reluctant to copulate and to exhibit rejecting behavior when courted by a male. Males that experience mate refusal by a mated female subsequently attenuate their courtship effort toward not only mated females but also virgin females. This courtship suppression persists for more than a day, and thus represents long-term memory. The courtship long-term memory has been shown to be impaired in heterozygotes as well as homozygotes of mutants in orb2, a locus encoding a set of CPEB RNA-binding proteins. We show that the impaired courtship long-term memory in orb2-mutant heterozygotes is restored by reducing the activity of lig, another putative RNA-binding protein gene, yet on its own the loss-of-function lig mutation is without effect. We further show that Lig forms a complex with Orb2. We infer that a reduction in the Lig levels compensates the Orb2 deficiency by mitigating the negative feedback for Orb2 expression and thereby alleviating defects in long-term memory.
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