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Evolution of mechanisms that control mating in Drosophila males

By Osama M. Ahmed, Aram Avila-Herrera, Khin May Tun, Paula H. Serpa, Justin Peng, Srinivas Parthasarathy, Jon-Michael Knapp, David L. Stern, Graeme W. Davis, Katherine Pollard, Nirao M. Shah

Posted 16 Aug 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/177337 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.104)

Genetically wired neural mechanisms inhibit mating between species because even naive animals rarely mate with other species. These mechanisms can evolve through changes in expression or function of key genes in specific sensory pathways or central circuits. Gr32a is a gustatory chemoreceptor that, in D. melanogaster, is essential to inhibit interspecies courtship and sense quinine. Similar to D. melanogaster, D. simulans Gr32a is expressed in foreleg tarsi, sensorimotor appendages that inhibit interspecies courtship in both species, and it is required to sense quinine. Nevertheless, Gr32a is not required to inhibit interspecies mating by D. simulans males. However, and similar to its function in D. melanogaster, Ppk25, a member of the Pickpocket family, promotes conspecific courtship in D. simulans. Taken together, we have identified shared as well as distinct evolutionary solutions to chemosensory processing of tastants as well as cues that inhibit or promote courtship in two closely related Drosophila species.

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