Egg-laying demand induces aversion of UV light in Drosophila females

Curr Biol. 2014 Dec 1;24(23):2797-804. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.076. Epub 2014 Oct 30.


Drosophila melanogaster females are highly selective about the chemosensory quality of their egg-laying sites, an important trait that promotes the survival and fitness of their offspring. How egg-laying females respond to UV light is not known, however. UV is a well-documented phototactic cue for adult Drosophila, but it is an aversive cue for larvae. Here, we show that female flies exhibit UV aversion in response to their egg-laying demand. First, females exhibit egg-laying aversion of UV: they prefer to lay eggs on dark sites when choosing between UV-illuminated and dark sites. Second, they also exhibit movement aversion of UV: positional tracking of single females suggests that egg-laying demand increases their tendency to turn away from UV. Genetic manipulations of the retina suggest that egg-laying and movement aversion of UV are both mediated by the inner (R7) and not the outer (R1-R6) photoreceptors. Finally, we show that the Dm8 amacrine neurons, a synaptic target of R7 photoreceptors and a mediator of UV spectral preference, are dispensable for egg-laying aversion but essential for movement aversion of UV. This study suggests that egg-laying demand can temporarily convert UV into an aversive cue for female Drosophila and that R7 photoreceptors recruit different downstream targets to control different egg-laying-induced behavioral modifications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Darkness
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Oviposition / physiology*
  • Phospholipase C beta / genetics
  • Phospholipase C beta / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / metabolism*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • NorpA protein, Drosophila
  • Phospholipase C beta