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Olfactory detection of a bacterial short-chain fatty acid acts as an orexigenic signal in Drosophila melanogaster larvae

Abstract : Microorganisms inhabiting fermenting fruit produce chemicals that elicit strong behavioral responses in flies. Depending on their ecological niche, individuals confer a positive or a negative valence to a chemical and, accordingly, they trigger either attractive or repulsive behaviors. We studied the case of bacterial short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that trigger opposite behaviors in adult and larvae of Drosophila melanogaster. We determined that SCFA-attractive responses depend on two larval exclusive chemoreceptors, Or30a and Or94b. Of those SCFA, propionic acid improves larval survival in suboptimal rearing conditions and supports growth. Olfactory detection of propionic acid specifically is sufficient to trigger feeding behaviors, and this effect requires the correct activity of Or30a(+) and Or94b(+) olfactory sensory neurons. Additionally, we studied the case of the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii that lives on undamaged ripe fruit with less SCFA production. Contrary to D. melanogaster, D. suzukii larvae show reduced attraction towards propionic acid, which does not trigger feeding behavior in this invasive species. Our results demonstrate the relevance of propionic acid as an orexigenic signal in D. melanogaster larvae. Moreover, this study underlines that the changes on ecological niche are accompanied with alterations of olfactory preferences and vital olfactory driven behaviors.
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Ana Depetris-Chauvin, Diego Galagovsky, Charlène Chevalier, Gérard Maniere, yaël Grosjean. Olfactory detection of a bacterial short-chain fatty acid acts as an orexigenic signal in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (1), pp.14230. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-14589-1⟩. ⟨hal-01709617⟩



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