Drosophila male courtship is controlled by the male-specific products of the fruitless (fruM) gene and its expressing neuronal circuitry. fruM is considered a master gene that controls all aspects of male courtship. By temporally and spatially manipulating fruM expression, we found that fruM is required during a critical developmental period for innate courtship towards females, while its function during adulthood is involved in inhibiting male-male courtship. By altering or eliminating fruM expression, we generated males that are innately heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or without innate courtship but could acquire such behavior in an experience-dependent manner. These findings show that fruM is not absolutely necessary for courtship but is critical during development to build a sex circuitry with reduced flexibility and enhanced efficiency, and provide a new view about how fruM tunes functional flexibility of a sex circuitry instead of switching on its function as conventionally viewed.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1, 2, 3, Figure 3-figure supplement 1, 2 and 4.
- Yufeng Pan
- Qionglin Peng
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Kristin Scott, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2021, Chen et al.
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