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Physiological and behavioral responses in Drosophila melanogaster to odorants present at different plant maturation stages

Versace, Elisabetta, Eriksson, Anna, Rocchi, Federico, Castellan, Irene, Sgadò, Paola, Haase, Albrecht
Physiology & behavior 2016 v.163 pp. 322-331
Drosophila melanogaster, dose response, electroantennography, electrophysiology, feeds, fruit flies, isogenic lines, leaves, odor compounds, odors, oviposition
The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster feeds and oviposits on fermented fruit, hence its physiological and behavioral responses are expected to be tuned to odorants abundant during later stages of fruit maturation. We used a population of about two-hundred isogenic lines of D. melanogaster to assay physiological responses (electroantennograms (EAG)) and behavioral correlates (preferences and choice ratio) to odorants found at different stages of fruit maturation. We quantified electrophysiological and behavioral responses of D. melanogaster for the leaf compound β-cyclocitral, as well as responses to odorants mainly associated with later fruit maturation stages. Electrophysiological and behavioral responses were modulated by the odorant dose. For the leaf compound we observed a steep dose-response curve in both EAG and behavioral data and shallower curves for odorants associated with later stages of maturation. Our data show the connection between sensory and behavioral responses and are consistent with the specialization of D. melanogaster on fermented fruit and avoidance of high doses of compounds associated with earlier stages of maturation. Odor preferences were modulated in a non-additive way when flies were presented with two alternative odorants, and combinations of odorants elicited higher responses than single compounds.