Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 11, 54 - 61 (2008)
Published online: 9 December 2007 | Corrected online: 16 December 2007 | Corrected online: 11 January 2008 | doi:10.1038/nn2019

A glial amino-acid transporter controls synapse strength and courtship in Drosophila

Yael Grosjean1,3, Micheline Grillet2, Hrvoje Augustin1, Jean-François Ferveur2 & David E Featherstone1

Mate choice is an evolutionarily critical decision that requires the detection of multiple sex-specific signals followed by central integration of these signals to direct appropriate behavior. The mechanisms controlling mate choice remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the glial amino-acid transporter genderblind controls whether Drosophila melanogaster males will attempt to mate with other males. Genderblind (gb) mutant males showed no alteration in heterosexual courtship or copulation, but were attracted to normally unappealing male species-specific chemosensory cues. As a result, genderblind mutant males courted and attempted to copulate with other Drosophila males. This homosexual behavior could be induced within hours using inducible RNAi, suggesting that genderblind controls nervous system function rather than its development. Consistent with this, and indicating that glial genderblind regulates ambient extracellular glutamate to suppress glutamatergic synapse strength in vivo, homosexual behavior could be turned on and off by altering glutamatergic transmission pharmacologically and/or genetically.

  1. Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 W Taylor Street (MC 067), Chicago, Illinois, USA.
  2. Université de Bourgogne, UMR-5548 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 5548, 6 Boulevard Gabriel, Dijon 21000, France.
  3. Present address: Center of Integrative Genomics, Genopode Building, Room 3033, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Correspondence to: David E Featherstone1 e-mail:

* In the version of this article originally published online, the title was incorrect. The correct title is "A glial amino-acid transporter controls synapse strength and courtship in Drosophila." This error has been corrected for all versions of the article.

** In the version of this article originally published online, the titles and captions of supplementary videos were missing. The error has been corrected online.


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