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An internal expectation guides Drosophila egg-laying decisions

Vijayan, Vikram and Wang, Zikun and Chandra, Vikram and Chakravorty, Arun and Li, Rufei and Sarbanes, Stephanie L. and Akhlaghpour, Hessameddin and Maimon, Gaby (2021) An internal expectation guides Drosophila egg-laying decisions. . (Unpublished)

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When presented with two egg-laying substrates, Drosophila lay most of their eggs on the option with higher relative value. How do flies make this relative-value decision? Might the strategy they use allow them to choose the best option even when they experience substrates with a more complex spatiotemporal profile than in canonical two-choice paradigms? We measured Drosophila egg-laying behavior in diverse substrate environments. In all cases, we found that flies dynamically increase or decrease their egg-laying rates as they explore substrates for a deposition site so as to target eggs to the best, recently visited option. Visiting the best option typically led to a strong reduction in egg laying on other substrates for several minutes, with this timescale varying across fly strains. Our data support a model in which flies compare the value of the current substrate with an internally constructed expectation on the value of available options to regulate the likelihood of laying an egg. We show that dopamine-neuron activity is critical for learning and/or expressing this expectation, similar to its role in certain tasks in vertebrates. Integrating sensory experiences over minutes to generate an internal sense of the quality of available options, i.e., forming an expectation, allows flies to use a dynamic reference point for judging the current substrate and might be a general way in which decisions are made, even beyond flies and egg laying.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Vijayan, Vikram0000-0003-3948-7568
Wang, Zikun0000-0001-5123-7030
Chandra, Vikram0000-0002-8020-0664
Li, Rufei0000-0001-8742-6933
Akhlaghpour, Hessameddin0000-0003-0475-7169
Maimon, Gaby0000-0003-1219-5856
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. This version posted October 2, 2021. We thank the Rockefeller University Precision Instrumentation Technologies facility for access to fabrication equipment; the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center (NIH P400D018537), Li Zhao, Sylvia Durkin, Wanhe Li, Nilay Yapici, John Tuthill, Karla Kuan, and Mark Wu for fly stocks; Atsuko Adachi for help immunostaining many of the screened lines; and Nivedita Rangarajan, Sam Cohen, and Sylvia Durkin for assistance with experiments. Research reported in this publication was supported by a Brain Initiative grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS121904) to G.M. and Leon Levy Foundation fellowship and the Kavli Neural Systems Institute grant to V.V.. G.M. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Data Analysis Software: All data analyses were done using MATLAB (MathWorks). Author Contributions: V.V. and G.M. conceived the initial study and wrote the manuscript. V.V., with input from G.M., designed the experiments, performed the experiments, analyzed the data, interpreted the results, and decided on new experiments. Z.W., V.C., A.C., R.L., and S.L.S. assisted with performing various egglaying experiments and interpreting the results. H.A. developed code to markedly speed up manual annotation of egg-deposition events. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Leon Levy FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Kavli Neural Systems InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211005-212336712
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:An internal expectation guides Drosophila egg-laying decisions. Vikram Vijayan, Zikun Wang, Vikram Chandra, Arun Chakravorty, Rufei Li, Stephanie L. Sarbanes, Hessameddin Akhlaghpour, Gaby Maimon. bioRxiv 2021.09.30.462671; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111224
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 23:33
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:43

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