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Neuron. 2013 Jul 10;79(1):54-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.05.019.

Pigment-dispersing factor modulates pheromone production in clock cells that influence mating in drosophila.

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Department of Biology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, ON L5L1C6, Canada.


Social cues contribute to the circadian entrainment of physiological and behavioral rhythms. These cues supplement the influence of daily and seasonal cycles in light and temperature. In Drosophila, the social environment modulates circadian mechanisms that regulate sex pheromone production and mating behavior. Here we demonstrate that a neuroendocrine pathway, defined by the neuropeptide Pigment-Dispersing Factor (PDF), couples the CNS to the physiological output of peripheral clock cells that produce pheromones, the oenocytes. PDF signaling from the CNS modulates the phase of the oenocyte clock. Despite its requirement for sustaining free-running locomoter activity rhythms, PDF is not necessary to sustain molecular rhythms in the oenocytes. Interestingly, disruption of the PDF signaling pathway reduces male sex pheromones and results in sex-specific differences in mating behavior. Our findings highlight the role of neuropeptide signaling and the circadian system in synchronizing the physiological and behavioral processes that govern social interactions.

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