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Published September 10, 2018 | public
Journal Article Open

Multifunctional Wing Motor Control of Song and Flight


Multifunctional motor systems produce distinct output patterns that are dependent on behavioral context, posing a challenge to underlying neuronal control. Flies use their wings for flight and the production of a patterned acoustic signal, the male courtship song, employing in both cases a small set of wing muscles and corresponding motor neurons. We took first steps toward elucidating the neuronal control mechanisms of this multifunctional motor system by live imaging of muscle ensemble activity patterns during song and flight, and we established the functional role of a comprehensive set of wing muscle motor neurons by silencing experiments. Song and flight rely on distinct configurations of neuromuscular activity, with most, but not all, flight muscles and their corresponding motor neurons contributing to song and shaping its acoustic parameters. The two behaviors are exclusive, and the neuronal command for flight overrides the command for song. The neuromodulator octopamine is a candidate for selectively stabilizing flight, but not song motor patterns.

Additional Information

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. Under an Elsevier user license. Received 3 March 2018, Revised 6 June 2018, Accepted 18 June 2018, Available online 23 August 2018. We thank Barry Dickson, Carsten Duch, and Stephanie Ryglewski for the gift of split GAL4 lines; Bloomington, VDRC and DGRC stock centers for providing stocks; Begona Arias Lopez for initial work on split GAL4 combinations; Volker Berendes for help with song data analysis; and Duda Kvitsiani, Sophie Seidenbecher, and members of the Philipsborn lab for feedback on the manuscript. Part of this work was supported by a Boehringer Ingelheim Travel Grant to A.O'S., and by the National Science Foundation: USA (grant IOS 1452510 funding T.L.). This study was supported by Lundbeckfonden grant DANDRITE-R248-2016-2518. Author Contributions: A.O., A.P., B.E., and A.C.v.P. conducted experiments. A.O. and A.C.v.P. analyzed the data. T.L. and M.D. provided the live-imaging setup and supported live-imaging experiments. A.C.v.P. and A.O. designed experiments. A.C.v.P. wrote the paper, with input from A.O., T.L., and M.D. The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplemental Material - 1-s2.0-S0960982218308297-mmc1.pdf


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August 21, 2023
August 21, 2023