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How flies find bacterial molecules disgusting?

Période :   au

We study how flies can detect bacterial molecules in the environment and adapt their feeding behavior accordingly.


Insects, behaviors, detection of the environment.
The survival of animals depends, among other things, on their ability to identify threats in their surrounding environment. Senses such as olfaction, vision and taste play an essential role in sampling their living environment, including microorganisms, some of which are potentially pathogenic. We focus on the mechanisms of detection of bacteria by the Drosophila gustatory system. We recently demonstrated that the peptidoglycan (PGN) that forms the cell wall of bacteria triggers an immediate feeding aversive response when detected by the gustatory system of adult flies.
Surprisingly, the ability of adult flies to respond to bacterial PGN is lost when they hatch from larvae reared under axenic conditions. Recolonization of axenic larvae, but not adults, with a single bacterial species, is sufficient to restore the ability of adults to respond to PGN. Consequently, the genetic and environmental characteristics of the larvae are essential to make future adults competent to respond to certain sensory stimuli such as PGN. In other words; to make the adult find the peptidoglycan disgusting, the larva must have lived with bacteria.
The neurons responsible for the adult detection of the PGN and for the larval interaction with the bacteria are identified.
The project will involve behavioral assays, confocal microscopy and genetic tools to identify the neuronal receptors and pathways necessary for the interaction with PGN and bacteria in adults and larvae.

Profil recherché

Etudiant ouvert d'esprit et pro-actif dans la recherche de solutions afin de résoudre des problématiques à l'interface des neurosciences, de la microbiologie et de l'écologie.

Établissement d'accueil

Equipe du Pr Julien ROYET, Institut De Biologie de Développement de Marseille, campus de Luminy, 13009 Marseille.

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