Neural circuitry that governs Drosophila male courtship behavior

Cell. 2005 Jun 3;121(5):795-807. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2005.04.026.


Male-specific fruitless (fru) products (Fru(M)) are both necessary and sufficient to "hardwire" the potential for male courtship behavior into the Drosophila nervous system. Fru(M) is expressed in approximately 2% of neurons in the male nervous system, but not in the female. We have targeted the insertion of GAL4 into the fru locus, allowing us to visualize and manipulate the Fru(M)-expressing neurons in the male as well as their counterparts in the female. We present evidence that these neurons are directly and specifically involved in male courtship behavior and that at least some of them are interconnected in a circuit. This circuit includes olfactory neurons required for the behavioral response to sex pheromones. Anatomical differences in this circuit that might account for the dramatic differences in male and female sexual behavior are not apparent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sex Attractants / metabolism
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*
  • Smell / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Sex Attractants
  • Transcription Factors
  • fru protein, Drosophila