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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28269. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028269. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

The hector G-protein coupled receptor is required in a subset of fruitless neurons for male courtship behavior.

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Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, United States of America.


Male courtship behavior in Drosophila melanogaster is controlled by two main regulators, fruitless (fru) and doublesex (dsx). Their sex-specific expression in brain neurons has been characterized in detail, but little is known about the downstream targets of the sex-specific FRU and DSX proteins and how they specify the function of these neurons. While sexual dimorphism in the number and connections of fru and dsx expressing neurons has been observed, a majority of the neurons that express the two regulators are present in both sexes. This poses the question which molecules define the sex-specific function of these neurons. Signaling molecules are likely to play a significant role. We have identified a predicted G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), CG4395, that is required for male courtship behavior. The courtship defect in the mutants can be rescued by expression of the wildtype protein in fru neurons of adult males. The GPCR is expressed in a subset of fru-positive antennal glomeruli that have previously been shown to be essential for male courtship. Expression of 4395-RNAi in GH146 projection neurons lowers courtship. This suggests that signaling through the CG4395 GPCR in this subset of fru neurons is critical for male courtship behavior.

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