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BMC Genomics  2010 

Mating alters gene expression patterns in Drosophila melanogaster male heads

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-11-558

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Abstract:

We used Drosophila genome arrays to identify changes in gene expression profiles that occur in mated male heads. Forty-seven genes differed between mated and control heads 2 hrs post mating. Many mating-responsive genes are highly expressed in non-neural head tissues, including an adipose tissue called the fat body. One fat body-enriched gene, female-specific independent of transformer (fit), is a downstream target of the somatic sex-determination hierarchy, a genetic pathway that regulates Drosophila reproductive behaviors as well as expression of some fat-expressed genes; three other mating-responsive loci are also downstream components of this pathway. Another mating-responsive gene expressed in fat, Juvenile hormone esterase (Jhe), is necessary for robust male courtship behavior and mating success.Our study demonstrates that mating causes changes in male head gene expression profiles and supports an increasing body of work implicating adipose signaling in behavior modulation. Since several mating-induced genes are sex-determination hierarchy target genes, additional mating-responsive loci may be downstream components of this pathway as well.Behavior involves the perception and processing of sensory information into a signaling cascade that mediates physiological and motor outputs. This complex process is influenced by an organism's environment, genetic make-up and nervous system function. Social interactions influence an organism's behavior [1-5], and these behavioral changes are associated with alterations in morphology [6-9] and gene expression [6,10-17]. However, the mechanisms mediating the changes are unclear. As we work to understand responses to behavior at the transcript level, we can clarify the regulatory and intracellular processes governing nervous system function and behavior.Therefore, we are studying reproductive behaviors in the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster, which exhibit stereotypical mating behaviors [reviewed in [18,19]] regul

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