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Citation
Bussell, J.J., Yapici, N., Zhang, S.X., Dickson, B.J., Vosshall, L.B. (2014). Abdominal-B neurons control Drosophila virgin female receptivity.  Curr. Biol. 24(14): 1584--1595.
FlyBase ID
FBrf0225696
Publication Type
Research paper
Abstract

Female sexual receptivity offers an excellent model for complex behavioral decisions. The female must parse her own reproductive state, the external environment, and male sensory cues to decide whether to copulate. In the fly Drosophila melanogaster, virgin female receptivity has received relatively little attention, and its neural circuitry and individual behavioral components remain unmapped. Using a genome-wide neuronal RNAi screen, we identify a subpopulation of neurons responsible for pausing, a novel behavioral aspect of virgin female receptivity characterized in this study. We show that Abdominal-B (Abd-B), a homeobox transcription factor, is required in developing neurons for high levels of virgin female receptivity. Silencing adult Abd-B neurons significantly decreased receptivity. We characterize two components of receptivity that are elicited in sexually mature females by male courtship: pausing and vaginal plate opening. Silencing Abd-B neurons decreased pausing but did not affect vaginal plate opening, demonstrating that these two components of female sexual behavior are functionally separable. Synthetic activation of Abd-B neurons increased pausing, but male courtship song alone was not sufficient to elicit this behavior. Our results provide an entry point to the neural circuit controlling virgin female receptivity. The female integrates multiple sensory cues from the male to execute discrete motor programs prior to copulation. Abd-B neurons control pausing, a key aspect of female sexual receptivity, in response to male courtship.

Graphical Abstract
Obtained with permission from Cell Press.
PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC4476023 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Related Publication(s)
Note

Neuroscience: What females really want.
Griffith, 2014, Nature 512(7513): 138--139 [FBrf0226142]

Neurogenetics: sex and the female brain.
Billeter and Levine, 2014, Curr. Biol. 24(17): R812--R814 [FBrf0228483]

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Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    English
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Journal
    Abbreviation
    Curr. Biol.
    Title
    Current Biology
    Publication Year
    1991-
    ISBN/ISSN
    0960-9822
    Data From Reference