Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Nearly every species utilizes aggression to secure resources or gain access to mates; however, the pathways directing aggressive behavior are not well understood. Previous work in the Certel Lab has identified genes and sets of neurons important in Drosophila male aggression. Of particular interest are a group of ~100 neurons that express the neurotransmitter octopamine, which is structurally related to norepinephrine in vertebrates. Males without octopamine take longer to fight and exhibit a reduced number of lunges (a key aggressive behavioral pattern). Octopamine exerts its effects by binding to specific G-protein-coupled-receptors. Four octopamine receptors are present in Drosophila including OAMB, OAβ1R, OAβ2R, and OAβ3R.

Currently I am examining the role of the OAβ1R receptor in male aggression. To test the role of OAβ1R, I am setting up fights between pairs of males that have the OAβ1R receptor removed via a genetic expression system and pairs of control males. The first step in initiating aggression is gender identification from one male to the other. OAβ1R is of particular interest as it is expressed in sensory neurons in the adult male leg, a key location in sex identification. After watching the recorded fights, I am scoring multiple parameters including how long it takes the males to start fighting, how many lunges, and occurrences of male-male courtship. To this point, I do not observe significant differences in latency to aggression or lunge number between males. However, my results indicate an increase in male-to-male courtship in pairs of experimental males without OAβ1R versus controls. At the completion of my project, I will be able to assign specific contributions of the OAβ1R receptor to the critical behaviors of male aggression and courtship.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 11th, 11:00 AM Apr 11th, 12:00 PM

Deciphering the role of the octopamine receptor OAβ1R in Drosophila male aggression

Nearly every species utilizes aggression to secure resources or gain access to mates; however, the pathways directing aggressive behavior are not well understood. Previous work in the Certel Lab has identified genes and sets of neurons important in Drosophila male aggression. Of particular interest are a group of ~100 neurons that express the neurotransmitter octopamine, which is structurally related to norepinephrine in vertebrates. Males without octopamine take longer to fight and exhibit a reduced number of lunges (a key aggressive behavioral pattern). Octopamine exerts its effects by binding to specific G-protein-coupled-receptors. Four octopamine receptors are present in Drosophila including OAMB, OAβ1R, OAβ2R, and OAβ3R.

Currently I am examining the role of the OAβ1R receptor in male aggression. To test the role of OAβ1R, I am setting up fights between pairs of males that have the OAβ1R receptor removed via a genetic expression system and pairs of control males. The first step in initiating aggression is gender identification from one male to the other. OAβ1R is of particular interest as it is expressed in sensory neurons in the adult male leg, a key location in sex identification. After watching the recorded fights, I am scoring multiple parameters including how long it takes the males to start fighting, how many lunges, and occurrences of male-male courtship. To this point, I do not observe significant differences in latency to aggression or lunge number between males. However, my results indicate an increase in male-to-male courtship in pairs of experimental males without OAβ1R versus controls. At the completion of my project, I will be able to assign specific contributions of the OAβ1R receptor to the critical behaviors of male aggression and courtship.