Control of the postmating behavioral switch in Drosophila females by internal sensory neurons

Neuron. 2009 Feb 26;61(4):519-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.12.021.


Mating induces changes in the receptivity and egg-laying behavior in Drosophila females, primarily due to a peptide pheromone called sex peptide which is transferred with the sperm into the female reproductive tract during copulation. Whereas sex peptide is generally believed to modulate fruitless-GAL4-expressing neurons in the central nervous system to produce behavioral changes, we found that six to eight sensory neurons on the reproductive tract labeled by both ppk-GAL4 and fruitless-GAL4 can sense sex peptide to control the induction of postmating behaviors. In these sensory neurons, sex peptide appears to act through Pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins and suppression of protein kinase A activity to reduce synaptic output. Our results uncover a neuronal mechanism by which sex peptide exerts its control over reproductive behaviors in Drosophila females.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Female
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying / biosynthesis
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying / genetics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Sodium Channels / genetics
  • Sodium Channels / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Kir2.1 channel
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying
  • Sodium Channels
  • ppk protein, Drosophila
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins