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Fecal-Derived Phenol Induces Egg-Laying Aversion in Drosophila

Mansourian, Suzan LU ; Corcoran, Jacob LU ; Enjin, Anders LU ; Löfstedt, Christer LU ; Dacke, Marie LU and Stensmyr, Marcus C. LU (2016) In Current Biology 26(20). p.2762-2769
Abstract

Feces is an abundant, rich source of energy, utilized by a myriad of organisms, not least by members of the order Diptera, i.e., flies. How Drosophila melanogaster reacts to fecal matter remains unclear. Here, we examined oviposition behavior toward a range of fecal samples from mammals native to the putative Southeast African homeland of the fly. We show that D. melanogaster display a strong oviposition aversion toward feces from carnivorous mammals but indifference or even attraction toward herbivore dung. We identify a set of four predictor volatiles, which can be used to differentiate fecal from non-fecal matter, as well as separate carnivore from herbivore feces. Of these volatiles, phenol—indicative of carnivore feces—confers... (More)

Feces is an abundant, rich source of energy, utilized by a myriad of organisms, not least by members of the order Diptera, i.e., flies. How Drosophila melanogaster reacts to fecal matter remains unclear. Here, we examined oviposition behavior toward a range of fecal samples from mammals native to the putative Southeast African homeland of the fly. We show that D. melanogaster display a strong oviposition aversion toward feces from carnivorous mammals but indifference or even attraction toward herbivore dung. We identify a set of four predictor volatiles, which can be used to differentiate fecal from non-fecal matter, as well as separate carnivore from herbivore feces. Of these volatiles, phenol—indicative of carnivore feces—confers egg-laying aversion and is detected by a single class of sensory neurons expressing Or46a. The Or46a-expressing neurons are necessary and sufficient for oviposition site aversion. We further demonstrate that carnivore feces—unlike herbivore dung—contain a high rate of pathogenic bacteria taxa. These harmful bacteria produce phenol from L-tyrosine, an amino acid specifically enriched in high protein diets, such as consumed by carnivores. Finally, we demonstrate that carnivore feces, as well as phenol, is also avoided by a ball-rolling species of dung beetle, suggesting that phenol is a widespread avoidance signal because of its association with pathogenic bacteria.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Biology
volume
26
issue
20
pages
8 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84994796710
  • wos:000386404200043
ISSN
0960-9822
DOI
10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.065
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fdd59cf9-66cd-43a2-8553-2c1d8a22e573
date added to LUP
2016-11-30 14:43:13
date last changed
2017-11-19 04:35:22
@article{fdd59cf9-66cd-43a2-8553-2c1d8a22e573,
  abstract     = {<p>Feces is an abundant, rich source of energy, utilized by a myriad of organisms, not least by members of the order Diptera, i.e., flies. How Drosophila melanogaster reacts to fecal matter remains unclear. Here, we examined oviposition behavior toward a range of fecal samples from mammals native to the putative Southeast African homeland of the fly. We show that D. melanogaster display a strong oviposition aversion toward feces from carnivorous mammals but indifference or even attraction toward herbivore dung. We identify a set of four predictor volatiles, which can be used to differentiate fecal from non-fecal matter, as well as separate carnivore from herbivore feces. Of these volatiles, phenol—indicative of carnivore feces—confers egg-laying aversion and is detected by a single class of sensory neurons expressing Or46a. The Or46a-expressing neurons are necessary and sufficient for oviposition site aversion. We further demonstrate that carnivore feces—unlike herbivore dung—contain a high rate of pathogenic bacteria taxa. These harmful bacteria produce phenol from L-tyrosine, an amino acid specifically enriched in high protein diets, such as consumed by carnivores. Finally, we demonstrate that carnivore feces, as well as phenol, is also avoided by a ball-rolling species of dung beetle, suggesting that phenol is a widespread avoidance signal because of its association with pathogenic bacteria.</p>},
  author       = {Mansourian, Suzan and Corcoran, Jacob and Enjin, Anders and Löfstedt, Christer and Dacke, Marie and Stensmyr, Marcus C.},
  issn         = {0960-9822},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {20},
  pages        = {2762--2769},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Biology},
  title        = {Fecal-Derived Phenol Induces Egg-Laying Aversion in Drosophila},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.07.065},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2016},
}