Behavioral and circuit basis of sucrose rejection by Drosophila females in a simple decision-making task.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Drosophila melanogaster egg-laying site selection offers a genetic model to study a simple form of value-based decision. We have previously shown that Drosophila females consistently reject a sucrose-containing substrate and choose a plain (sucrose-free) substrate for egg laying in our sucrose versus plain decision assay. However, either substrate is accepted when it is the sole option. Here we describe the neural mechanism that underlies females' sucrose rejection in our sucrose versus plain assay. First, we demonstrate that females explored the sucrose substrate frequently before most egg-laying events, suggesting that they actively suppress laying eggs on the sucrose substrate as opposed to avoiding visits to it. Second, we show that activating a specific subset of DA neurons triggered a preference for laying eggs on the sucrose substrate over the plain one, suggesting that activating these DA neurons can increase the value of the sucrose substrate for egg laying. Third, we demonstrate that neither ablating nor inhibiting the mushroom body (MB), a known Drosophila learning and decision center, affected females' egg-laying preferences in our sucrose versus plain assay, suggesting that MB does not mediate this specific decision-making task. We propose that the value of a sucrose substrate- as an egg-laying option-can be adjusted by the activities of a specific DA circuit. Once the sucrose substrate is determined to be the lesser valued option, females execute their decision to reject this inferior substrate not by stopping their visits to it, but by actively suppressing their egg-laying motor program during their visits.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yang, C-H; He, R; Stern, U

Published Date

  • January 28, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1396 - 1410

PubMed ID

  • 25632118

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4308591

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-2401

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0992-14.2015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States