The integration of two or more distinct sensory cues can help animals make more informed decisions about potential food sources, but little is known about how feeding-related multimodal sensory integration happens at the cellular and molecular levels. Here, we show that multimodal sensory integration contributes to a stereotyped feeding behavior in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Simultaneous olfactory and mechanosensory inputs significantly influence a taste-evoked feeding behavior called the proboscis extension reflex (PER). Olfactory and mechanical information are mediated by antennal Or35a neurons and leg hair plate mechanosensory neurons, respectively. We show that the controlled delivery of three different sensory cues can produce a supra-additive PER via the concurrent stimulation of olfactory, taste, and mechanosensory inputs. We suggest that the fruit fly is a versatile model system to study multisensory integration related to feeding, which also likely exists in vertebrates.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Feb 16|
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