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author:("Chan, yck-Bun")
1.  Feminizing cholinergic neurons in a male Drosophila nervous system enhances aggression 
Fly  2009;3(3):179-184.
Previous studies in Drosophila have demonstrated that whether flies fight like males or females can be switched by selectively manipulating genes of the sex determination hierarchy in male and female nervous systems. Here we extend these studies by demonstrating that changing the sex of cholinergic neurons in male fruit fly nervous systems via expression of the transformer gene increases the levels of aggression shown by the flies without altering the way the flies fight. Transformer manipulation in this way does not change phototaxis, geotaxis, locomotion or odor avoidance of the mutant males compared to controls. Cholinergic neurons must be feminized via this route during the late larval/early pupal stages of development to show the enhanced aggression phenotype. Other investigators have shown that this is the same time period during which sexually dimorphic patterns of behavior are specified in flies. Neurons that co-express fruitless and choline acetyl transferase are found in varying numbers within different clusters of fruitless-expressing neurons: together they make up approximately 10% of the pool of fruitless-expressing neurons in the brain and nerve cord.
PMCID: PMC2831085  PMID: 19556850
Drosophila; aggression; cholinergic neurons; transformer; feminization
2.  Neural Circuitry Underlying Drosophila Female Postmating Behavioral Responses 
Current Biology  2012;22(13):1155-1165.
After mating, Drosophila females undergo a remarkable phenotypic switch resulting in decreased sexual receptivity and increased egg laying. Transfer of male sex peptide (SP) during copulation mediates these postmating responses via sensory neurons that coexpress the sex-determination gene fruitless (fru) and the proprioceptive neuronal marker pickpocket (ppk) in the female reproductive system. Little is known about the neuronal pathways involved in relaying SP-sensory information to central circuits and how these inputs are processed to direct female-specific changes that occur in response to mating.
We demonstrate an essential role played by neurons expressing the sex-determination gene doublesex (dsx) in regulating the female postmating response. We uncovered shared circuitry between dsx and a subset of the previously described SP-responsive fru+/ppk+-expressing neurons in the reproductive system. In addition, we identified sexually dimorphic dsx circuitry within the abdominal ganglion (Abg) critical for mediating postmating responses. Some of these dsx neurons target posterior regions of the brain while others project onto the uterus.
We propose that dsx-specified circuitry is required to induce female postmating behavioral responses, from sensing SP to conveying this signal to higher-order circuits for processing and through to the generation of postmating behavioral and physiological outputs.
► dsx circuitry plays a pivotal role in the female postmating switch ► Peripheral dsx neurons detect and respond to sex peptide ► Central dsx neurons convey this signal to higher-order processing and direct postmating responses.
PMCID: PMC3396843  PMID: 22658598
3.  Correction: Pheromonal and Behavioral Cues Trigger Male-to-Female Aggression in Drosophila 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(12):10.1371/annotation/1c19d040-9f9f-4b9f-b678-70f1fe387192.
PMCID: PMC2997046
4.  Pheromonal and Behavioral Cues Trigger Male-to-Female Aggression in Drosophila 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(11):e1000541.
By genetically manipulating both pheromonal profiles and behavioral patterns, we find that Drosophila males showed a complete reversal in their patterns of aggression towards other males and females
Appropriate displays of aggression rely on the ability to recognize potential competitors. As in most species, Drosophila males fight with other males and do not attack females. In insects, sex recognition is strongly dependent on chemosensory communication, mediated by cuticular hydrocarbons acting as pheromones. While the roles of chemical and other sensory cues in stimulating male to female courtship have been well characterized in Drosophila, the signals that elicit aggression remain unclear. Here we show that when female pheromones or behavior are masculinized, males recognize females as competitors and switch from courtship to aggression. To masculinize female pheromones, a transgene carrying dsRNA for the sex determination factor transformer (traIR) was targeted to the pheromone producing cells, the oenocytes. Shortly after copulation males attacked these females, indicating that pheromonal cues can override other sensory cues. Surprisingly, masculinization of female behavior by targeting traIR to the nervous system in an otherwise normal female also was sufficient to trigger male aggression. Simultaneous masculinization of both pheromones and behavior induced a complete switch in the normal male response to a female. Control males now fought rather than copulated with these females. In a reciprocal experiment, feminization of the oenocytes and nervous system in males by expression of transformer (traF) elicited high levels of courtship and little or no aggression from control males. Finally, when confronted with flies devoid of pheromones, control males attacked male but not female opponents, suggesting that aggression is not a default behavior in the absence of pheromonal cues. Thus, our results show that masculinization of either pheromones or behavior in females is sufficient to trigger male-to-female aggression. Moreover, by manipulating both the pheromonal profile and the fighting patterns displayed by the opponent, male behavioral responses towards males and females can be completely reversed. Therefore, both pheromonal and behavioral cues are used by Drosophila males in recognizing a conspecific as a competitor.
Author Summary
As in other species, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster uses chemical signals in the form of pheromones to recognize the species and sex of another individual. Males typically fight with other males and do not attack females. While the roles of pheromonal and other sensory cues in stimulating courtship towards females have been extensively studied, the signals that elicit aggression towards other males remain unclear. In this work, we use genetic tools to show that masculinization of female pheromones is sufficient to trigger aggression from wild type males towards females. Surprisingly, males also attacked females that displayed male patterns of aggression, even if they show normal female pheromonal profiles, indicating that pheromones are not the only cues important for identifying another animal as an opponent. By simultaneously manipulating pheromones and behavioral patterns of opponents, we can completely switch the behavioral response of males towards females and males. These results demonstrate that not only pheromonal but also behavioral cues can serve as triggers of aggression, underlining the importance of behavioral feedback in the manifestation of social behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2990703  PMID: 21124886

Results 1-4 (4)