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Publication : Socially-responsive gene expression in male Drosophila melanogaster is influenced by the sex of the interacting partner.

First Author  Ellis Lisa L Year  2011
Journal  Genetics Volume  187
Pages  157-69 PubMed ID  20980240
Abstract Text  Behavior is influenced by an organism's genes and environment, including its interactions with same or opposite sex individuals. Drosophila melanogaster perform innate, yet socially modifiable, courtship behaviors that are sex specific and require rapid integration and response to multiple sensory cues. Furthermore, males must recognize and distinguish other males from female courtship objects. It is likely that perception, integration, and response to sex-specific cues is partially mediated by changes in gene expression. Reasoning that social interactions with members of either sex would impact gene expression, we compared expression profiles in heads of males that courted females, males that interacted with other males, or males that did not interact with another fly. Expression of 281 loci changes when males interact with females, whereas 505 changes occur in response to male-male interactions. Of these genes, 265 are responsive to encounters with either sex and 240 respond specifically to male-male interactions. Interestingly, 16 genes change expression only when a male courts a female, suggesting that these changes are a specific response to male-female courtship interactions. We supported our hypothesis that socially-responsive genes can function in behavior by showing that egghead (egh) expression, which increases during social interactions, is required for robust male-to-female courtship. We predict that analyzing additional socially-responsive genes will give us insight into genes and neural signaling pathways that influence reproductive and other behavioral interactions. Doi  10.1534/genetics.110.122754
Issue  1 Month  Jan

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