Rival exposure causes Drosophila melanogaster males to prolong mating. Longer mating duration (LMD) may enhance reproductive success, but its underlying mechanism is currently unknown. We found that LMD is context dependent and can be induced solely via visual stimuli. In addition, we found that LMD involves neural circuits that are important for visual memory, including central neurons in the ellipsoid body, but not the mushroom bodies or the fan-shaped bodies, and may rely on the rival exposure memory lasting for several hours. LMD is affected by a subset of learning and memory mutants. LMD depends on the circadian clock genes timeless and period, but not Clock or cycle, and persists in many arrhythmic conditions. Moreover, LMD critically depends on a subset of pigment dispersing factor neurons rather than the entire circadian neural circuit. Our study thus delineates parts of the molecular and cellular basis for LMD, a plastic social behavior elicited by visual cues.
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We thank S. Zhu for the unpublished fly line GAL414–94. We also thank A. Keene, J. Blau, M. Heisenberg, C. Helfrich-Förster, L. Griffith, R. Allada, M. Noll, J.L. Price, A. Sehgal, M. Young, J.D. Armstrong and M. Sato for kindly providing valuable flies. We are grateful to A. Keene for valuable discussion of this project and J. Berg for assisting with the writing of the manuscript. The work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grant 2R37NS040929 to Y.N.J. L.Y.J. and Y.N.J. are investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Kim, W., Jan, L. & Jan, Y. Contribution of visual and circadian neural circuits to memory for prolonged mating induced by rivals. Nat Neurosci 15, 876–883 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.3104
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