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Neuron. 2009 Feb 26;61(4):519-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.12.021.

Control of the postmating behavioral switch in Drosophila females by internal sensory neurons.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Mating induces changes in the receptivity and egg-laying behavior in Drosophila females, primarily due to a peptide pheromone called sex peptide which is transferred with the sperm into the female reproductive tract during copulation. Whereas sex peptide is generally believed to modulate fruitless-GAL4-expressing neurons in the central nervous system to produce behavioral changes, we found that six to eight sensory neurons on the reproductive tract labeled by both ppk-GAL4 and fruitless-GAL4 can sense sex peptide to control the induction of postmating behaviors. In these sensory neurons, sex peptide appears to act through Pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins and suppression of protein kinase A activity to reduce synaptic output. Our results uncover a neuronal mechanism by which sex peptide exerts its control over reproductive behaviors in Drosophila females.

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