Special Seminar , Thurs, June 27, 10:30 AM, PNI PSH 101, Meital Oren-Suissa, Weizmann Institute of Science, "Evolution and Design of Sexually Dimorphic Neuronal Circuits"

Jun 27, 2024, 10:30 am11:30 am



Event Description

The two sexes of a species can display marked differences in essential behaviors such as feeding or escape from dangers, but the mechanisms underlying such behavioral dimorphism are poorly understood. In our work, we trace the molecular and cellular events that generate sexually dimorphic circuits at the single synapse and gene level. For example, we find that in the circuit for nociceptive behaviors, rewiring of a single synaptic connection can determine the sexually-dimorphic behavioral outcome, while in the tail mechano-sensory circuit different cells and molecular mediators are employed in the two sexes to generate the same behavior. Additionally, the lab explores a novel aspect of sexual dimorphism in learning. Males and hermaphrodites exhibit different learning efficiencies and neuronal responses to the pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, despite similar innate immune recognition. This difference is attributed to the neuropeptide Y receptor homologue npr-5, which acts as a sensory gatekeeper, modulating neuronal activity and learning in males. Our work suggests that conflicting evolutionary pressures introduced subtle changes into functional circuits to optimize the fitness of each sex.  

Department of Physics