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cAMP signalling in mushroom bodies modulates temperature preference behaviour in Drosophila


Homoiotherms, for example mammals, regulate their body temperature with physiological responses such as a change of metabolic rate and sweating. In contrast, the body temperature of poikilotherms, for example Drosophila, is the result of heat exchange with the surrounding environment as a result of the large ratio of surface area to volume of their bodies1,2. Accordingly, these animals must instinctively move to places with an environmental temperature as close as possible to their genetically determined desired temperature. The temperature that Drosophila instinctively prefers has a function equivalent to the ‘set point’ temperature in mammals. Although various temperature-gated TRP channels have been discovered3,4, molecular and cellular components in Drosophila brain responsible for determining the desired temperature remain unknown. We identified these components by performing a large-scale genetic screen of temperature preference behaviour (TPB) in Drosophila5,6. In parallel, we mapped areas of the Drosophila brain controlling TPB by targeted inactivation of neurons with tetanus toxin7 and a potassium channel (Kir2.1)8 driven with various brain-specific GAL4s. Here we show that mushroom bodies (MBs) and the cyclic AMP–cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (cAMP–PKA) pathway are essential for controlling TPB. Furthermore, targeted expression of cAMP–PKA pathway components in only the MB was sufficient to rescue abnormal TPB of the corresponding mutants. Preferred temperatures were affected by the level of cAMP and PKA activity in the MBs in various PKA pathway mutants.

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Figure 1: The MB is required for TPB.
Figure 2: Contribution of MB lobes in TPB control.
Figure 3: cAMP–PKA signalling in the MB is needed for normal temperature preference.
Figure 4: cAMP–PKA in the MB is sufficient for normal TPBs.


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We thank D. Stafford for help in manuscript preparation. This work was supported by grants from the Brain Research Center of the 21st Century Frontier Program funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology and a grant from the Science Research Center (SRC) for Functional Cellulomics of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF).

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Correspondence to Jaeseob Kim.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

The file contains Supplementary Figures S1-S15 and Legends; Supplementary Tables S1-S7 (Statistical analysis on TPBs); Supplementary Results and Discussion (Mainly describe TPB genetic screen and involvement of other brain parts except MB in TPB control), and additional references. (PDF 4613 kb)

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Hong, ST., Bang, S., Hyun, S. et al. cAMP signalling in mushroom bodies modulates temperature preference behaviour in Drosophila. Nature 454, 771–775 (2008).

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