A Circuit Node that Integrates Convergent Input from Neuromodulatory and Social Behavior-Promoting Neurons to Control Aggression in Drosophila
Diffuse neuromodulatory systems such as norepinephrine (NE) control brain-wide states such as arousal, but whether they control complex social behaviors more specifically is not clear. Octopamine (OA), the insect homolog of NE, is known to promote both arousal and aggression. We have performed a systematic, unbiased screen to identify OA receptor-expressing neurons (OARNs) that control aggression in Drosophila. Our results uncover a tiny population of male-specific aSP2 neurons that mediate a specific influence of OA on aggression, independent of any effect on arousal. Unexpectedly, these neurons receive convergent input from OA neurons and P1 neurons, a population of FruM+ neurons that promotes male courtship behavior. Behavioral epistasis experiments suggest that aSP2 neurons may constitute an integration node at which OAergic neuromodulation can bias the output of P1 neurons to favor aggression over inter-male courtship. These results have potential implications for thinking about the role of related neuromodulatory systems in mammals.
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Under an Elsevier user license. Received 6 March 2017, Revised 6 July 2017, Accepted 9 August 2017, Available online 30 August 2017. We thank H. Melkonian and J. Choi for fly stock maintenance, Y. Aso and H. Tanimoto for sharing fly lines, M. Gallio and Y. Chen for advice on GRASP experiments; members of the Anderson Lab fly group for advice, C. Chiu for lab management, G. Mancuso for administrative assistance, and P. Sternberg and B. Weissbourd for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by NIDA Grant 2R01-DA031389, and a Human Frontier Science Program fellowship grant LT 00685/2006-L to K.W. D.J.A. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. K.W. dedicates this paper to the memory of his PhD advisor, the late Dr. Yoshiki Sasai.
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