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Bijayalaxmi Swain: Inhibitory GABAergic signaling shapes fruit fly courtship motor behavior

PhD defence, Wednesday 31 May 2023, Bijayalaxmi Swain

Bijayalaxmi Swain

During her Ph.D. studies, Bijayalaxmi Swain researched the role of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid) in the male Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) courtship behavior. The male fruit flies display courtship behavior which involves several sequential steps to attract female flies for mating. The male fly sings the courtship song by unilateral wing vibration to produce a highly patterned song. The courtship song is rhythmic and has two main components: pulse and sine. The rhythmic song of the male fly is a model for circuit neuroscientists to identify the key regulators of neuronal circuit mechanisms in producing patterned motor output. Bijayalaxmi Swain used imaging and genetic tools to investigate the impact of GABAergic inhibition in fruitless (fru) positive neurons. The male-specific fruitless gene is an important regulator of sexual behavior and causes behavior specific to males.

The research demonstrated that specific depletion of GABAergic signaling components in male fru-expressing neurons alters the courtship song. The altered song is not recognizable by the female leading to mating failure. The research findings in this courtship behavior showed that precise GABAergic inhibition regulates courtship song patterning.

The Ph.D. study was completed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the Ph.D. student.

Time: Wednesday, 31 May 2023 at 13.00
Place: Building 1870, room 816, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Universitetsbyen 81, 8000 Aarhus C.
Title of Ph.D. thesis: GABAergic signaling shapes multiple aspects of Drosophila courtship motor behavior

Contact information: Bijayalaxmi Swain, e-mail: bijis@mbg.au.dk, tel.: +45 52754677

Members of the assessment committee:
Maria Luísa Vasconcelos, PhD, Champalimaund Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal

Associate Professor Kenneth Veland Halberg, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen (Chair), Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:
Professor Poul Nissen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Neurobiology, Aarhus University, Denmark

Associate Professor Anne von Philipsborn, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Neurobiology, Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The Ph.D. dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.

The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Natural Sciences/GSNS,
Jens Baggesens Vej 53, building 5221, 8200 Aarhus N.