The role of genes in morphological development is well understood for a variety of model organisms, but there remains a gap in our understanding of how genetics mediate behavior. Are there master genes that regulate behavior? Answering this question will lead to a better understanding of the development and function of the central nervous system, eventually allowing us to map out the pathways that regulate specific behaviors. We are using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism and the male courtship ritual as the behavior of interest to study the relationships between genes, neural development, and behavior. Trapped in endoderm 1 (Tre1), a gene encoding an orphan G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR), is required for normal courtship behavior in fruit flies, but how this receptor regulates behavior is not yet understood. Here, we characterize the signaling cascade downstream of Tre1 by testing mutations in the Drosophila G-proteins for courtship defects similar to those seen in Tre1. Our results demonstrate that Gαi is a candidate downstream effector for Tre1, while also implicating Gγ30A in courtship behavior. Future goals include completing the characterization of the G-protein mutations and conducting experiments to explore the complex interaction between G-protein signaling and courtship initiation.
"Gαi and GƔ30A act downstream of Tre1 in Drosophila courtship,"
McNair Research Journal SJSU: Vol. 15
, Article 8.