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Social communication of predator-induced changes in Drosophila behavior and germline physiology

  1. Balint Z Kacsoh
  2. Julianna Bozler
  3. Mani Ramaswami
  4. Giovanni Bosco  Is a corresponding author
  1. Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, United States
  2. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Research Article
  • Cited 29
  • Views 4,757
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e07423 doi: 10.7554/eLife.07423


Behavioral adaptation to environmental threats and subsequent social transmission of adaptive behavior has evolutionary implications. In Drosophila, exposure to parasitoid wasps leads to a sharp decline in oviposition. We show that exposure to predator elicits both an acute and learned oviposition depression, mediated through the visual system. However, long-term persistence of oviposition depression after predator removal requires neuronal signaling functions, a functional mushroom body, and neurally driven apoptosis of oocytes through effector caspases. Strikingly, wasp-exposed flies (teachers) can transmit egg-retention behavior and trigger ovarian apoptosis in naïve, unexposed flies (students). Acquisition and behavioral execution of this socially learned behavior by naïve flies requires all of the factors needed for primary learning. The ability to teach does not require ovarian apoptosis. This work provides new insight into genetic and physiological mechanisms that underlie an ecologically relevant form of learning and mechanisms for its social transmission.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Balint Z Kacsoh

    Department of Genetics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  2. Julianna Bozler

    Department of Genetics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Mani Ramaswami

    Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
    Competing interests
    Mani Ramaswami, Reviewing editor, eLife.
  4. Giovanni Bosco

    Department of Genetics, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Leslie C Griffith, Brandeis University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: March 16, 2015
  2. Accepted: May 13, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 13, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Accepted Manuscript updated: May 15, 2015 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record published: June 8, 2015 (version 3)


© 2015, Kacsoh et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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