Princeton University Library Catalog

Role of Dopaminergic Neurons in Regulating Female Receptivity and Desirability during Courtship in Drosophila melanogaster

Akiti, Candice Korleki [Browse]
Senior thesis
Murthy, Mala [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Molecular Biology [Browse]
Class year:
44 pages
Summary note:
Acoustic communication is important in the behaviors of many species, including humans, birds, and flies. During courtship in Drosophila melanogaster, the male chases the female while producing a species-specific song. Females process the male’s song and use the auditory cues to inform their behavior. It is likely that there is an ongoing accumulation and integration of the information provided by male song. Dopamine has previously been shown to play a significant role in regulating courtship behavior in D. melanogaster. However, it is unknown which of the dopaminergic neurons in the brain are necessary for this process. Identifying these neurons may reveal novel circuit elements underlying female behavior. We silenced subsets of dopaminergic neurons in the fly brain using tetanus toxin (TNT) and tested female receptivity in a courtship assay with a wild type male. This allowed us to record the male song, track fly movement, and score the time to copulation. Two clusters of neurons were found to have significant effects on courtship behavior. Inactivation of the D1 cluster reduces female attractiveness: males courted these females significantly less. Inactivation of the F2 cluster increases female receptivity: there is a significantly increased copulation rate. Analysis of female responses to male song will also be assessed by correlating female speed with male song using a generalized linear model (GLM). Future experiments will confirm the role of the D1 and F2 subsets in controlling female receptivity and will test their sufficiency in female behavior by activation via channelrhodopsins.