Woo Jae Kim, Lily Yeh Jan & Yuh Nung Jan*
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Departments of Physiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
* Correspondence should be addressed to Y.N.J.
Rival exposure causes Drosophila melanogaster males to prolong mating. Longer mating duration (LMD) may enhance reproductive success, but its underlying mechanism is currently unknown. We found that LMD is context dependent and can be induced solely via visual stimuli. In addition, we found that LMD involves neural circuits that are important for visual memory, including central neurons in the ellipsoid body, but not the mushroom bodies or the fan-shaped bodies, and may rely on the rival exposure memory lasting for several hours. LMD is affected by a subset of learning and memory mutants. LMD depends on the circadian clock genes timeless and period, but not Clock or cycle, and persists in many arrhythmic conditions. Moreover, LMD critically depends on a subset of pigment dispersing factor neurons rather than the entire circadian neural circuit. Our study thus delineates parts of the molecular and cellular basis for LMD, a plastic social behavior elicited by visual cues.