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Science 335 (6074): 1351-1355

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila

G. Shohat-Ophir,*,{dagger} K. R. Kaun,{dagger} R. Azanchi,{dagger} H. Mohammed, U. Heberlein*,{dagger}

Abstract: The brain’s reward systems reinforce behaviors required for species survival, including sex, food consumption, and social interaction. Drugs of abuse co-opt these neural pathways, which can lead to addiction. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the relationship between natural and drug rewards. In males, mating increased, whereas sexual deprivation reduced, neuropeptide F (NPF) levels. Activation or inhibition of the NPF system in turn reduced or enhanced ethanol preference. These results thus link sexual experience, NPF system activity, and ethanol consumption. Artificial activation of NPF neurons was in itself rewarding and precluded the ability of ethanol to act as a reward. We propose that activity of the NPF–NPF receptor axis represents the state of the fly reward system and modifies behavior accordingly.

Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-2822, USA.

{dagger} Present address: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Center, Ashburn, VA 20174, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: shohatophirg{at}janelia.hhmi.org (G.S.-O.); ulrike.heberlein{at}ucsf.edu (U.H.)


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