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2 Janelia Publications

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    10/18/19 | Drosulfakinin signaling in fruitless circuitry antagonizes P1 neurons to regulate sexual arousal in Drosophila.
    Wu S, Guo C, Zhao H, Sun M, Chen J, Han C, Peng Q, Qiao H, Peng P, Liu Y, Luo SD, Pan Y
    Nature Communications. 2019 Oct 18;10(1):4770. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12758-6

    Animals perform or terminate particular behaviors by integrating external cues and internal states through neural circuits. Identifying neural substrates and their molecular modulators promoting or inhibiting animal behaviors are key steps to understand how neural circuits control behaviors. Here, we identify the Cholecystokinin-like peptide Drosulfakinin (DSK) that functions at single-neuron resolution to suppress male sexual behavior in Drosophila. We found that Dsk neurons physiologically interact with male-specific P1 neurons, part of a command center for male sexual behaviors, and function oppositely to regulate multiple arousal-related behaviors including sex, sleep and spontaneous walking. We further found that the DSK-2 peptide functions through its receptor CCKLR-17D3 to suppress sexual behaviors in flies. Such a neuropeptide circuit largely overlaps with the fruitless-expressing neural circuit that governs most aspects of male sexual behaviors. Thus DSK/CCKLR signaling in the sex circuitry functions antagonistically with P1 neurons to balance arousal levels and modulate sexual behaviors.

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    10/15/19 | The yellow gene influences Drosophila male mating success through sex comb melanization.
    Massey JH, Chung D, Siwanowicz I, Stern DL, Wittkopp PJ
    eLife. 2019 Oct 15;8:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.49388

    males perform a series of courtship behaviors that, when successful, result in copulation with a female. For over a century, mutations in the gene, named for its effects on pigmentation, have been known to reduce male mating success. Prior work has suggested that influences mating behavior through effects on wing extension, song, and/or courtship vigor. Here, we rule out these explanations, as well as effects on the nervous system more generally, and find instead that the effects of on male mating success are mediated by its effects on pigmentation of male-specific leg structures called sex combs. Loss of expression in these modified bristles reduces their melanization, which changes their structure and causes difficulty grasping females prior to copulation. These data illustrate why the mechanical properties of anatomy, not just neural circuitry, must be considered to fully understand the development and evolution of behavior.

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