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Trade-off between toxicity and signal detection orchestrated by frequency- and density-dependent genes.

Research paper by Laury L Arthaud, Selim Ben SB Rokia-Mille, Hussein H Raad, Aviv A Dombrovsky, Nicolas N Prevost, Maria M Capovilla, Alain A Robichon

Indexed on: 01 Jun '11Published on: 01 Jun '11Published in: PloS one



Abstract

Behaviors in insects are partly highly efficient Bayesian processes that fulfill exploratory tasks ending with the colonization of new ecological niches. The foraging (for) gene in Drosophila encodes a cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG). It has been extensively described as a frequency-dependent gene and its transcripts are differentially expressed between individuals, reflecting the population density context. Some for transcripts, when expressed in a population at high density for many generations, concomitantly trigger strong dispersive behavior associated with foraging activity. Moreover, genotype-by-environment interaction (GEI) analysis has highlighted a dormant role of for in energetic metabolism in a food deprivation context. In our current report, we show that alleles of for encoding different cGMP-dependent kinase isoforms influence the oxidation of aldehyde groups of aromatic molecules emitted by plants via Aldh-III and a phosphorylatable adaptor. The enhanced efficiency of oxidation of aldehyde odorants into carboxyl groups by the action of for lessens their action and toxicity, which should facilitate exploration and guidance in a complex odor environment. Our present data provide evidence that optimal foraging performance requires the fast metabolism of volatile compounds emitted by plants to avoid neurosensory saturation and that the frequency-dependent genes that trigger dispersion influence these processes.