Presynaptic facilitation by neuropeptide signaling mediates odor-driven food search

Cell. 2011 Apr 1;145(1):133-44. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.008.


Internal physiological states influence behavioral decisions. We have investigated the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms at the first olfactory synapse for starvation modulation of food-search behavior in Drosophila. We found that a local signal by short neuropeptide F (sNPF) and a global metabolic cue by insulin are integrated at specific odorant receptor neurons (ORNs) to modulate olfactory sensitivity. Results from two-photon calcium imaging show that starvation increases presynaptic activity via intraglomerular sNPF signaling. Expression of sNPF and its receptor (sNPFR1) in Or42b neurons is necessary for starvation-induced food-search behavior. Presynaptic facilitation in Or42b neurons is sufficient to mimic starvation-like behavior in fed flies. Furthermore, starvation elevates the transcription level of sNPFR1 but not that of sNPF, and insulin signaling suppresses sNPFR1 expression. Thus, starvation increases expression of sNPFR1 to change the odor map, resulting in more robust food-search behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Antennae / metabolism
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Odorants
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Starvation / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • NPFR protein, Drosophila
  • Neuropeptides
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide
  • Receptors, Odorant
  • neuropeptide F