Reduction of dopamine level enhances the attractiveness of male Drosophila to other males

PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e4574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004574. Epub 2009 Feb 24.


Dopamine is an important neuromodulator in animals and its roles in mammalian sexual behavior are extensively studied. Drosophila as a useful model system is widely used in many fields of biological studies. It has been reported that dopamine reduction can affect female receptivity in Drosophila and leave male-female courtship behavior unaffected. Here, we used genetic and pharmacological approaches to decrease the dopamine level in dopaminergic cells in Drosophila, and investigated the consequence of this manipulation on male homosexual courtship behavior. We find that reduction of dopamine level can induce Drosophila male-male courtship behavior, and that this behavior is mainly due to the increased male attractiveness or decreased aversiveness towards other males, but not to their enhanced propensity to court other males. Chemical signal input probably plays a crucial role in the male-male courtship induced by the courtees with reduction of dopamine. Our finding provides insight into the relationship between the dopamine reduction and male-male courtship behavior, and hints dopamine level is important for controlling Drosophila courtship behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Courtship
  • Dopamine / deficiency*
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*


  • Dopamine