Innate and learned odor-guided behaviors utilize distinct molecular signaling pathways in a shared dopaminergic circuit

Cell Rep. 2023 Feb 28;42(2):112026. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112026. Epub 2023 Jan 25.


Odor-based learning and innate odor-driven behavior have been hypothesized to require separate neuronal circuitry. Contrary to this notion, innate behavior and olfactory learning were recently shown to share circuitry that includes the Drosophila mushroom body (MB). But how a single circuit drives two discrete behaviors remains unknown. Here, we define an MB circuit responsible for both olfactory learning and innate odor avoidance and the distinct dDA1 dopamine receptor-dependent signaling pathways that mediate these behaviors. Associative learning and learning-induced MB plasticity require rutabaga-encoded adenylyl cyclase activity in the MB. In contrast, innate odor preferences driven by naive MB neurotransmission are rutabaga independent, requiring the adenylyl cyclase ACXD. Both learning and innate odor preferences converge on PKA and the downstream MBON-γ2α'1. Importantly, the utilization of this shared circuitry for innate behavior only becomes apparent with hunger, indicating that hardwired innate behavior becomes more flexible during states of stress.

Keywords: CP: Neuroscience; acetylcholine; dopamine; innate behavior; learning; memory; neuronal circuits; synaptic transmission.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Learning / physiology
  • Mushroom Bodies / metabolism
  • Odorants*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smell* / physiology


  • Adenylyl Cyclases
  • Dopamine