Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Curr Biol. 2014 Jul 21;24(14):1584-1595. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

Abdominal-B neurons control Drosophila virgin female receptivity.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 63, New York, NY 10065, USA.
2
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA.
3
Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 63, New York, NY 10065, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Electronic address: leslie.vosshall@rockefeller.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Female sexual receptivity offers an excellent model for complex behavioral decisions. The female must parse her own reproductive state, the external environment, and male sensory cues to decide whether to copulate. In the fly Drosophila melanogaster, virgin female receptivity has received relatively little attention, and its neural circuitry and individual behavioral components remain unmapped. Using a genome-wide neuronal RNAi screen, we identify a subpopulation of neurons responsible for pausing, a novel behavioral aspect of virgin female receptivity characterized in this study.

RESULTS:

We show that Abdominal-B (Abd-B), a homeobox transcription factor, is required in developing neurons for high levels of virgin female receptivity. Silencing adult Abd-B neurons significantly decreased receptivity. We characterize two components of receptivity that are elicited in sexually mature females by male courtship: pausing and vaginal plate opening. Silencing Abd-B neurons decreased pausing but did not affect vaginal plate opening, demonstrating that these two components of female sexual behavior are functionally separable. Synthetic activation of Abd-B neurons increased pausing, but male courtship song alone was not sufficient to elicit this behavior.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results provide an entry point to the neural circuit controlling virgin female receptivity. The female integrates multiple sensory cues from the male to execute discrete motor programs prior to copulation. Abd-B neurons control pausing, a key aspect of female sexual receptivity, in response to male courtship.

PMID:
24998527
PMCID:
PMC4476023
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center