Natural variation at the Drosophila melanogaster Or22 odorant receptor locus is associated with changes in olfactory behaviour
journal contributionposted on 15.12.2021, 01:02 by Katherine H Shaw, Craig Dent, Travis K Johnson, Alisha Anderson, Marien de Bruyne, Coral WarrCoral Warr
In insects, many critical olfactory behaviours are mediated by the large odorant receptor (Or) gene family, which determines the response properties of different classes of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). While ORN responses are generally conserved within and between Drosophila species, variant alleles of the D. melanogaster Or22 locus have previously been shown to alter the response profile of an ORN class called ab3A. These alleles show potential clinal variation, suggesting that selection is acting at this locus. Here, we investigated if the changes seen in ab3A responses lead to changes in olfactory-related behaviours. We show that variation at the Or22 locus and in the ab3A neurons are not fully compensated for by other ORNs and lead to overall changes in antennal odorant detection. We further show that this correlates with differences in odorant preference behaviour and with differences in oviposition site preference, with flies that have the chimaeric short allele strongly preferring to oviposit on banana. These findings indicate that variation at the Or22 locus leads to changes in olfactory-driven behaviours, and add support to the idea that the ab3A neurons are of especial importance to the ecology of Drosophila flies.