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Published August 27, 2014 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

How Food Controls Aggression in Drosophila


How animals use sensory information to weigh the risks vs. benefits of behavioral decisions remains poorly understood. Inter-male aggression is triggered when animals perceive both the presence of an appetitive resource, such as food or females, and of competing conspecific males. How such signals are detected and integrated to control the decision to fight is not clear. For instance, it is unclear whether food increases aggression directly, or as a secondary consequence of increased social interactions caused by attraction to food. Here we use the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate the manner by which food influences aggression. We show that food promotes aggression in flies, and that it does so independently of any effect on frequency of contact between males, increase in locomotor activity or general enhancement of social interactions. Importantly, the level of aggression depends on the absolute amount of food, rather than on its surface area or concentration. When food resources exceed a certain level, aggression is diminished, suggestive of reduced competition. Finally, we show that detection of sugar via Gr5a+ gustatory receptor neurons (GRNs) is necessary for food-promoted aggression. These data demonstrate that food exerts a specific effect to promote aggression in male flies, and that this effect is mediated, at least in part, by sweet-sensing GRNs.

Additional Information

© 2014 Lim et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Received: June 12, 2014; Accepted: July 22, 2014; Published: August 27, 2014. Data Availability: The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files. Funding: This study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Code: NIH-NRSA5T32GM07616, Grant/Project #: T32 GM007616, Grant/Project Title: PREDOCTORAL TRAINING IN BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. This study was supported by the funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Author Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: RSL DJA. Performed the experiments: RSL. Analyzed the data: RSL EE ES. Contributed reagents/ materials/analysis tools: EE PP. Contributed to the writing of the manuscript: RSL DJA. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Attached Files

Published - journal.pone.0105626.pdf

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s001.tif

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s002.tif

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s003.tif

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Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s009.xlsx

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s010.xlsx

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s011.xlsx

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s012.xlsx

Supplemental Material - journal.pone.0105626.s013.xlsx


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August 20, 2023
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