1. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Robust manipulation of the behavior of Drosophila melanogaster by a fungal pathogen in the laboratory

  1. Carolyn Elya  Is a corresponding author
  2. Tin Ching Lok
  3. Quinn E Spencer
  4. Hayley McCausland
  5. Ciera C Martinez
  6. Michael B Eisen  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of California, Berkeley, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 1
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Cite as: eLife 2018;7:e34414 doi: 10.7554/eLife.34414

Abstract

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.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Carolyn Elya

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    For correspondence
    cnelya@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-9634-0303
  2. Tin Ching Lok

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-6388-5721
  3. Quinn E Spencer

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Hayley McCausland

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-3177-2543
  5. Ciera C Martinez

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Michael B Eisen

    Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    For correspondence
    mbeisen@berkeley.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-7528-738X

Funding

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Michael B Eisen

National Science Foundation

  • 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.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Brian P Lazzaro, Cornell University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: December 16, 2017
  2. Accepted: July 16, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 26, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 31, 2018 (version 2)

Copyright

© 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.

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