Functional dissection of the Drosophila mushroom bodies by selective feminization of genetically defined subcompartments

Neuron. 1995 Jul;15(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(95)90064-0.


Relatively little is known about the neural circuitry underlying sex-specific behaviors. We have expressed the feminizing gene transformer in genetically defined subregions of the brain of male Drosophila, and in particular within different domains of the mushroom bodies. Mushroom bodies are phylogenetically conserved insect brain centers implicated in associative learning and various other aspects of behavior. Expression of transformer in lines that mark certain subsets of mushroom body intrinsic neurons, and in a line that marks a component of the antennal lobe, causes males to exhibit nondiscriminatory sexual behavior: they court mature males in addition to females. Expression of transformer in other mushroom body domains, and in control lines, has no such effect. Our data support the view that genetically defined subsets of mushroom body intrinsic neurons perform different functional roles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Feminization / genetics*
  • Galactosidases / genetics
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology*
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • Galactosidases
  • beta-Galactosidase