Neural circuitry that governs Drosophila male courtship behavior

Petra Stockinger, Duda Kvitsiani, Shay Rotkopf, László Tirián, Barry J. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

355 Citations (Scopus)


Male-specific fruitless (fru) products (FruM) are both necessary and sufficient to "hardwire" the potential for male courtship behavior into the Drosophila nervous system. FruM is expressed in ∼2% of neurons in the male nervous system, but not in the female. We have targeted the insertion of GAL4 into the fru locus, allowing us to visualize and manipulate the FruM-expressing neurons in the male as well as their counterparts in the female. We present evidence that these neurons are directly and specifically involved in male courtship behavior and that at least some of them are interconnected in a circuit. This circuit includes olfactory neurons required for the behavioral response to sex pheromones. Anatomical differences in this circuit that might account for the dramatic differences in male and female sexual behavior are not apparent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-807
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Stockinger, P., Kvitsiani, D., Rotkopf, S., Tirián, L., & Dickson, B. J. (2005). Neural circuitry that governs Drosophila male courtship behavior. Cell, 121(5), 795-807.