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Food odors trigger Drosophila males to deposit a pheromone that guides aggregation and female oviposition decisions

  1. Chun-Chieh Lin
  2. Katharine A Prokop-Prigge
  3. George Preti
  4. Christopher J Potter  Is a corresponding author
  1. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, United States
  2. Monell Chemical Senses Center, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 39
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e08688 doi: 10.7554/eLife.08688

Abstract

Animals use olfactory cues for navigating complex environments. Food odors in particular provide crucial information regarding potential foraging sites. Many behaviors occur at food sites, yet how food odors regulate such behaviors at these sites is unclear. Using Drosophila melanogaster as an animal model, we found that males deposit the pheromone 9-tricosene upon stimulation with the food-odor apple cider vinegar. This pheromone acts as a potent aggregation pheromone and as an oviposition guidance cue for females. We use genetic, molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioral approaches to show that 9-tricosene activates antennal basiconic Or7a receptors, a receptor activated by many alcohols and aldehydes such as the green leaf volatile E2-hexenal. We demonstrate that loss of Or7a+ neurons or the Or7a receptor abolishes aggregation behavior and oviposition site-selection towards 9-tricosene and E2-hexenal. 9-Tricosene thus functions via Or7a to link food-odor perception with aggregation and egg-laying decisions.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Chun-Chieh Lin

    The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Center for Sensory Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Katharine A Prokop-Prigge

    Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. George Preti

    Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Christopher J Potter

    The Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, Center for Sensory Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, United States
    For correspondence
    cpotter@jhmi.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Mani Ramaswami, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Publication history

  1. Received: May 22, 2015
  2. Accepted: September 28, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: September 30, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: October 27, 2015 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Lin 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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