An assay for social interaction in Drosophila fragile X mutants

Fly (Austin). 2010 Jul-Sep;4(3):216-25. doi: 10.4161/fly.4.3.12280. Epub 2010 Jul 1.


We developed a novel assay to examine social interactions in Drosophila and, as a first attempt, apply it here at examining the behavior of Drosophila Fragile X Mental Retardation gene (dfmr1) mutants. Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of single gene intellectual disability (ID) and is frequently associated with autism. Our results suggest that dfmr1 mutants are less active than wild-type flies and interact with each other less often. In addition, mutants for one allele of dfmr1, dfmr1(B55), are more likely to come in close contact with a wild-type fly than another dfmr1(B55) mutant. Our results raise the possibility of defective social expression with preserved receptive abilities. We further suggest that the assay may be applied in a general strategy of examining endophenoypes of complex human neurological disorders in Drosophila, and specifically in order to understand the genetic basis of social interaction defects linked with ID.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Endophenotypes
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein / genetics*
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Mutation
  • Personal Space
  • Social Behavior*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • FMR1 protein, Drosophila
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein