Many microbes induce striking behavioral changes in their animal hosts, but how they achieve this is poorly understood, especially at the molecular level. Mechanistic understanding has been largely constrained by the lack of an experimental system amenable to molecular manipulation. We recently discovered a strain of the behavior-manipulating fungal pathogen Entomophthora muscae infecting wild Drosophila, and established methods to infect D. melanogaster in the lab. Lab-infected flies manifest the moribund behaviors characteristic of E. muscae infection: hours before death, they climb upward, extend their proboscides, affixing in place, then raise their wings, clearing a path for infectious spores to launch from their abdomens. We found that E. muscae invades the nervous system, suggesting a direct means by which the fungus could induce behavioral changes. Given the vast molecular toolkit available for D. melanogaster, we believe this new system will enable rapid progress in understanding how E. muscae manipulates host behavior.
Transcriptomic data have been deposited in GEO under accession code GSE111046.Genomic data have been deposited in NCBI under accession code PRJNA479887.
Transcriptomic response of Drosophila melanogaster whole bodies or dissected brains to Entomophthora muscae 'Berkeley'Publicly available at the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (accession no: GSE111046).
Entomophthora muscae strain:Berkeley Genome sequencing and assemblyPublicly available at the European Nucleotide Archive (accession no: PRJNA479887).
- Michael B Eisen
- Carolyn Elya
- Ciera C Martinez
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Brian P Lazzaro, Cornell University, United States
© 2018, Elya 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.