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Cell. 2013 Dec 19;155(7):1610-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.025.

A bidirectional circuit switch reroutes pheromone signals in male and female brains.

Author information

1
Division of Neurobiology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.
2
Division of Neurobiology, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK. Electronic address: jefferis@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

The Drosophila sex pheromone cVA elicits different behaviors in males and females. First- and second-order olfactory neurons show identical pheromone responses, suggesting that sex genes differentially wire circuits deeper in the brain. Using in vivo whole-cell electrophysiology, we now show that two clusters of third-order olfactory neurons have dimorphic pheromone responses. One cluster responds in females; the other responds in males. These clusters are present in both sexes and share a common input pathway, but sex-specific wiring reroutes pheromone information. Regulating dendritic position, the fruitless transcription factor both connects the male-responsive cluster and disconnects the female-responsive cluster from pheromone input. Selective masculinization of third-order neurons transforms their morphology and pheromone responses, demonstrating that circuits can be functionally rewired by the cell-autonomous action of a switch gene. This bidirectional switch, analogous to an electrical changeover switch, provides a simple circuit logic to activate different behaviors in males and females.

PMID:
24360281
PMCID:
PMC3898676
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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