The context of chemical communication driving a mutualism

Günther, Catrin S., Goddard, Matthew R., Newcomb, Richard D. and Buser, Claudia C. (2015) The context of chemical communication driving a mutualism. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41 (10). pp. 929-936. ISSN 0098-0331

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Recent work suggests that Drosophila and Saccharomyces yeasts may establish a mutualistic association, and that this is driven by chemical communication. While individual volatiles have been implicated in the attraction of D. melanogaster, the semiochemicals affecting the behavior of the sibling species D. simulans are less well characterised. Here, we comprehensively scrutinize a broad range of volatiles produced by attractive and repulsive yeasts to experimentally evaluate the chemical nature of communication between these species. When grown in liquid or on agar-solidified grape juice, attraction to S. cerevisiae was primarily driven by 3-methylbutyl acetate (isoamyl acetate) and repulsion by acetic acid, a known attractant to D. melanogaster (also known as vinegar fly). Using T-maze choice tests and synthetic compounds we show that these responses were strongly influenced by compound concentration. Moreover, the behavioral response is further impacted by the chemical context of the environment. Thus, chemical communication between yeasts and flies is complex, and is not simply driven by the presence of single volatiles, but modulated by compound interactions. The ecological context of chemical communication needs to be taken into consideration when testing for ecologically realistic responses.

Keywords:Chemical communication, Drosophila, Fermentation, Mutualism, Saccharomyces, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C990 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
F Physical Sciences > F190 Chemistry not elsewhere classified
F Physical Sciences > F180 Analytical Chemistry
C Biological Sciences > C500 Microbiology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:18930
Deposited On:07 Oct 2015 10:23

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