Wolbachia influences the production of octopamine and affects Drosophila male aggression

Rohrscheib, C. E., Bondy, E., Josh, P., Riegler, M., Eyles, D., van Swinderen, B., Weible, M. W. and Brownlie, J. C. (2015) Wolbachia influences the production of octopamine and affects Drosophila male aggression. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81 14: 4573-4580. doi:10.1128/AEM.00573-15

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Author Rohrscheib, C. E.
Bondy, E.
Josh, P.
Riegler, M.
Eyles, D.
van Swinderen, B.
Weible, M. W.
Brownlie, J. C.
Title Wolbachia influences the production of octopamine and affects Drosophila male aggression
Journal name Applied and Environmental Microbiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1098-5336
Publication date 2015-07-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1128/AEM.00573-15
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 81
Issue 14
Start page 4573
End page 4580
Total pages 8
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Society for Microbiology
Collection year 2016
Formatted abstract
Wolbachia bacteria are endosymbionts that infect approximately 40% of all insect species and are best known for their ability to manipulate host reproductive systems. Though the effect Wolbachia infection has on somatic tissues is less well understood, when present in cells of the adult Drosophila melanogaster brain, Wolbachia exerts an influence over behaviors related to olfaction. Here, we show that a strain of Wolbachia influences male aggression in flies, which is critically important in mate competition. A specific strain of Wolbachia was observed to reduce the initiation of aggressive encounters in Drosophila males compared to the behavior of their uninfected controls. To determine how Wolbachia was able to alter aggressive behavior, we investigated the role of octopamine, a neurotransmitter known to influence male aggressive behavior in many insect species. Transcriptional analysis of the octopamine biosynthesis pathway revealed that two essential genes, the tyrosine decarboxylase and tyramine β-hydroxylase genes, were significantly downregulated in Wolbachia-infected flies. Quantitative chemical analysis also showed that total octopamine levels were significantly reduced in the adult heads.
Keyword Endosymbiont Wolbachia
Insect behaviour
gene regulation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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