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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Genes Involved in Sex Pheromone Discrimination in Drosophila melanogaster and Their Background-Dependent Effect

Houot, Benjamin; Fraichard, Stephane; Greenspan, Ralph J.; Ferveur, Jean-Francois

Abstract

Mate choice is based on the comparison of he sensory quality of potential mating partners, and sex pheromones play an important role in this process. In Drosophila melanogaster, contact pheromones differ between male and female in the content and in their effects on male courtship, both inhibitory and stimulatory. To investigate the genetic basis of x pheromone discrimination, we experimentally selected males showing either a higher or lower ability to discriminate sex pheromones over 20 generations. This experimental selection was carried out in parallel on two different genetic backgrounds: wild-type and desat1 mutant, in which parental males showed high and low sex pheromone discrimination ability respectively. Male perception of male and female pheromones was separately affected during the process of election. A comparison of transcriptomic activity between high and low discrimination lines revealed genes not only that varied according to the starting genetic background, but varied reciprocally. Mutants in two of these genes, Shaker and quick-to-court, were capable of producing similar effects on discrimination on their own in some instances mimicking the selected lines, in others not. This suggests that discrimination of sex pheromones depends on genes whose activity is sensitive to genetic context and provides a rare, genetically defined example of the phenomenon known as "allele flips", in which interactions have reciprocal effects on different genetic backgrounds

Published in

PLoS ONE
2012, Volume: 7, number: 1, article number: e30799
Publisher: PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Behavioral Sciences Biology
    Genetics

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0030799

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/90723