Joshua Wong Rose Hills
Mating Status and Bitter Gustatory Processing in Drosophila
The focus of my project is to study the connection between mating status (mated versus virgin) and bitter taste processing. It has been shown that there are taste processing modulations post-mating for females to uptake more protein, salt, and sugar for egg production. My project’s specific question is if bitter taste is also modulated when given a bitter/sweet mixture. I also want to look into the effects and functions of this behavioral change: one hypothesis we have is that flies use this taste mechanism for detecting the environment when wanting to lay eggs. On top of that, we want to localize these processes to different gustatory receptor neurons. Flies have both taste receptors on their legs and internal ones in their “mouth”, so mapping these receptors to the behaviors will be very beneficial. We found that there are differences in taste processing between these two groups, so we want to investigate that further. Overall, the main goal is to fully characterize the behavioral phenotype and its mechanisms.