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Maternally-transmitted microbiota affects odor emission and preference in Drosophila larva

Abstract : Experimental studies show that early sensory experience often affects subsequent sensory preference, suggesting that the heterogeneity of sensory cues in nature could induce significant inter-individual behavioral variation, potentially contributing to maintain intraspecific diversity. To test this hypothesis, we explored the behavioral effect induced by variation in the levels of a self-produced chemical, acetoin, and its link with intraspecific diversity. Acetoin is a pheromone-like substance produced by gut-associated microorganisms in Drosophila. Using wild-type Drosophila melanogaster populations producing variable acetoin levels, we (i) characterized factors involved in this variation and (ii) manipulated some of these factors to affect acetoin responses in larvae. We found that increased and decreased variations in acetoin levels were caused by microorganisms associated with the outside and inside of the egg, respectively. Wild-type larvae preferred acetoin-rich food only when they both produced and were exposed to substantial amounts of acetoin. The removal of the outside of the egg or the genetic alteration of olfaction abolished this preference. In contrast, larvae exposed to high doses of synthetic acetoin were repulsed by acetoin. The similar effects obtained with freshly caught wild-type lines suggest that this acetoin "production-preference" link underlies the diversity of acetoin-producing microorganisms among natural D. melanogaster populations.
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Jean-Pierre Farine, Wafa Habbachi, Jérôme Cortot, Suzy Roche, Jean-François Ferveur. Maternally-transmitted microbiota affects odor emission and preference in Drosophila larva. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (1), pp.6062. ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-04922-z⟩. ⟨hal-01609359⟩



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