A pleiotropic chemoreceptor facilitates the production and perception of mating pheromones

Cassondra L. Vernier, Nicole Leitner, Kathleen M. Zelle, Merrin Foltz, Sophia Dutton, Xitong Liang, Sean Halloran, Jocelyn G. Millar, Yehuda Ben-Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Optimal mating decisions depend on the robust coupling of signal production and perception because independent changes in either could carry a fitness cost. However, since the perception and production of mating signals are often mediated by different tissues and cell types, the mechanisms that drive and maintain their coupling remain unknown for most animal species. Here, we show that in Drosophila, behavioral responses to, and the production of, a putative inhibitory mating pheromone are co-regulated by Gr8a, a member of the Gustatory receptor gene family. Specifically, through behavioral and pheromonal data, we found that Gr8a independently regulates the behavioral responses of males and females to a putative inhibitory pheromone, as well as its production in the fat body and oenocytes of males. Overall, these findings provide a relatively simple molecular explanation for how pleiotropic receptors maintain robust mating signaling systems at the population and species levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105882
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2023


  • Biochemistry
  • Biological sciences
  • Ecological biochemistry


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