Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuroscience. 2009 Feb 18;158(4):1292-300. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.10.055. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Serotonin 5-HT(2) and 5-HT(1A)-like receptors differentially modulate aggressive behaviors in Drosophila melanogaster.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Aggressive behavior is widespread throughout the animal kingdom, and is a complex social behavior influenced by both genetics and environment. Animals typically fight over resources that include food, territory, and sexual partners. Of all the neurotransmitters, serotonin (5-HT) has been the most implicated in modulating aggressive behaviors in mammalian systems. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, the involvement of 5-HT itself in aggressive behaviors has been recently established, however, the underlying mechanisms have largely remained elusive. Here we describe the influence of different 5-HT receptor subtypes on aggressive behaviors in Drosophila. Drosophila express homologs of three mammalian 5-HT receptors: the 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(2), and 5-HT(7) receptors. Significantly, these receptors mediate important behaviors in mammalian systems ranging from feeding, aggression, and sleep, to cognition. To examine the role of the 5-HT(2)Dro receptor, we utilized the selective 5-HT(2) receptor agonist (R)-1-[2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl]-2-aminopropane (DOI), and the 5-HT(2) receptor antagonist, ketanserin. To examine the role of 5-HT(1A)-like receptors we used the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-dipropylaminotetralin hydrobromide (8-OH-DPAT), and the 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY100635. We find that activation of 5-HT(2) receptors with (R)-DOI appears to decrease overall aggression, whereas activation of 5-HT(1A)-like receptors with 8-OH-DPAT increases overall aggression. Furthermore, the different 5-HT receptor circuitries appear to mediate different aspects of aggression: 5-HT(2) receptor manipulation primarily alters lunging and boxing, whereas 5-HT(1A)-like receptor manipulation primarily affects wing threats and fencing. Elucidating the effects of serotonergic systems on aggression in the fly is a significant advancement not only in establishing the fly as a system to study aggression, but as a system relevant to elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying aggression in mammals, including humans.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication Types, MeSH Terms, Substances, Grant Support

Publication Types

MeSH Terms


Grant Support

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk