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A circuit logic for sexually shared and dimorphic aggressive behaviors in Drosophila

Chiu, Hui and Hoopfer, Eric D. and Coughlan, Maeve L. and Anderson, David J. (2021) A circuit logic for sexually shared and dimorphic aggressive behaviors in Drosophila. Cell, 184 (2). pp. 507-520. ISSN 0092-8674. PMCID PMC7856078 ; PMC7982966.

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Aggression involves both sexually monomorphic and dimorphic actions. How the brain implements these two types of actions is poorly understood. We have identified three cell types that regulate aggression in Drosophila: one type is sexually shared, and the other two are sex specific. Shared common aggression-promoting (CAP) neurons mediate aggressive approach in both sexes, whereas functionally downstream dimorphic but homologous cell types, called male-specific aggression-promoting (MAP) neurons in males and fpC1 in females, control dimorphic attack. These symmetric circuits underlie the divergence of male and female aggressive behaviors, from their monomorphic appetitive/motivational to their dimorphic consummatory phases. The strength of the monomorphic → dimorphic functional connection is increased by social isolation in both sexes, suggesting that it may be a locus for isolation-dependent enhancement of aggression. Together, these findings reveal a circuit logic for the neural control of behaviors that include both sexually monomorphic and dimorphic actions, which may generalize to other organisms.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle CentralCorrection
Chiu, Hui0000-0002-1820-8411
Hoopfer, Eric D.0000-0002-5888-0173
Coughlan, Maeve L.0000-0003-2646-9475
Anderson, David J.0000-0001-6175-3872
Additional Information:© 2020 Elsevier. Received 4 July 2020, Revised 27 October 2020, Accepted 25 November 2020, Available online 30 December 2020. We thank Dr. J.-Y. Yu for editing the draft and discussions; Drs. Y. Jung and J.-Y. Yu for advice on imaging experiments; Drs. G.M. Rubin and B. Pfeiffer for unpublished reagents; Dr. B.J. Dickson for FruM antibody; Dr. S.F. Goodwin for dsx drivers; Drs. H.T. Schwartz, E.J. Hong, C. Lois, P. Sternberg, and members of the Anderson laboratory for valuable comments on the manuscript; A. Sanchez for fly maintenance; and C. Chiu, G. Mancuso, and X. Da for laboratory management and administrative assistance. This work was supported by NIDA (R01-DA031389). D.J.A. is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Author contributions. Conceptualization, D.J.A. and H.C.; investigation, H.C. and M.L.C.; writing – original draft, H.C. and D.J.A.; writing – review & editing, H.C. and D.J.A.; resources, H.C. and E.D.H.; funding acquisition, D.J.A. The authors declare no competing interests.
Errata:Hui Chiu, Eric D. Hoopfer, Maeve L. Coughlan, Hania J. Pavlou, Stephen F. Goodwin, David J. Anderson, A circuit logic for sexually shared and dimorphic aggressive behaviors in Drosophila, Cell, Volume 184, Issue 3, 2021, Page 847, ISSN 0092-8674, (
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Drosophila; sexual dimorphism; appetitive behavior; consummatory behavior
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC7856078 ; PMC7982966
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210104-164232613
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Official Citation:Hui Chiu, Eric D. Hoopfer, Maeve L. Coughlan, David J. Anderson, A circuit logic for sexually shared and dimorphic aggressive behaviors in Drosophila, Cell, Volume 184, Issue 2, 2021, Pages 507-520.e16, ISSN 0092-8674, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107315
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Jan 2021 16:18
Last Modified:10 Feb 2022 22:00

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