PPL2ab neurons restore sexual responses in aged Drosophila males through dopamine

Shu Yun Kuo, Chia Lin Wu, Min Yen Hsieh, Chen Ta Lin, Rong Kun Wen, Lien Cheng Chen, Yu Hui Chen, Yhu Wei Yu, Horng Dar Wang, Yi Ju Su, Chun Ju Lin, Cian Yi Yang, Hsien Yu Guan, Pei Yu Wang, Tsuo Hung Lan, Tsai Feng Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

26 Scopus citations


Male sexual desire typically declines with ageing. However, our understanding of the neurobiological basis for this phenomenon is limited by our knowledge of the brain circuitry and neuronal pathways controlling male sexual desire. A number of studies across species suggest that dopamine (DA) affects sexual desire. Here we use genetic tools and behavioural assays to identify a novel subset of DA neurons that regulate age-associated male courtship activity in Drosophila. We find that increasing DA levels in a subset of cells in the PPL2ab neuronal cluster is necessary and sufficient for increased sustained courtship in both young and aged male flies. Our results indicate that preventing the age-related decline in DA levels in PPL2ab neurons alleviates diminished courtship behaviours in male Drosophila. These results may provide the foundation for deciphering the circuitry involved in sexual motivation in the male Drosophila brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7490
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 30 06 2015

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