Identification of FoxP circuits involved in locomotion and object fixation in Drosophila

Open Biol. 2020 Dec;10(12):200295. doi: 10.1098/rsob.200295. Epub 2020 Dec 16.


The FoxP family of transcription factors is necessary for operant self-learning, an evolutionary conserved form of motor learning. The expression pattern, molecular function and mechanisms of action of the Drosophila FoxP orthologue remain to be elucidated. By editing the genomic locus of FoxP with CRISPR/Cas9, we find that the three different FoxP isoforms are expressed in neurons, but not in glia and that not all neurons express all isoforms. Furthermore, we detect FoxP expression in, e.g. the protocerebral bridge, the fan-shaped body and in motor neurons, but not in the mushroom bodies. Finally, we discover that FoxP expression during development, but not adulthood, is required for normal locomotion and landmark fixation in walking flies. While FoxP expression in the protocerebral bridge and motor neurons is involved in locomotion and landmark fixation, the FoxP gene can be excised from dorsal cluster neurons and mushroom-body Kenyon cells without affecting these behaviours.

Keywords: Drosophila; FoxP; behavioural biology; molecular biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Development / genetics
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Locomotion* / genetics
  • Multigene Family
  • Mushroom Bodies / embryology
  • Mushroom Bodies / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • FoxP protein, Drosophila