Fruit fly behavior in response to chemosensory signals

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Abstract

An important question in contemporary sensory neuroscience is how animals perceive their environment and make appropriate behavioral choices based on chemical perceptions. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster exhibits robust tastant and odor-evoked behaviors. Understanding how the gustatory and olfactory systems support the perception of these contact and volatile chemicals and translate them into appropriate attraction or avoidance behaviors has made an unprecedented contribution to our knowledge of the organization of chemosensory systems. In this review, I begin by describing the receptors and signaling mechanisms of the Drosophila gustatory and olfactory systems and then highlight their involvement in the control of simple and complex behaviors. The topics addressed include feeding behavior, learning and memory, navigation behavior, neuropeptide modulation of chemosensory behavior, and I conclude with a discussion of recent work that provides insight into pheromone signaling pathways.

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