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Curr Biol. 2014 Dec 1;24(23):2797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.076. Epub 2014 Oct 30.

Egg-laying demand induces aversion of UV light in Drosophila females.

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Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Durham, NC 27705, USA.
Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Electronic address:


Drosophila melanogaster females are highly selective about the chemosensory quality of their egg-laying sites, an important trait that promotes the survival and fitness of their offspring. How egg-laying females respond to UV light is not known, however. UV is a well-documented phototactic cue for adult Drosophila, but it is an aversive cue for larvae. Here, we show that female flies exhibit UV aversion in response to their egg-laying demand. First, females exhibit egg-laying aversion of UV: they prefer to lay eggs on dark sites when choosing between UV-illuminated and dark sites. Second, they also exhibit movement aversion of UV: positional tracking of single females suggests that egg-laying demand increases their tendency to turn away from UV. Genetic manipulations of the retina suggest that egg-laying and movement aversion of UV are both mediated by the inner (R7) and not the outer (R1-R6) photoreceptors. Finally, we show that the Dm8 amacrine neurons, a synaptic target of R7 photoreceptors and a mediator of UV spectral preference, are dispensable for egg-laying aversion but essential for movement aversion of UV. This study suggests that egg-laying demand can temporarily convert UV into an aversive cue for female Drosophila and that R7 photoreceptors recruit different downstream targets to control different egg-laying-induced behavioral modifications.

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