Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Hungry animals need compensatory mechanisms to maintain flexible brain function, while modulation reconfigures circuits to prioritize resource seeking. In Drosophila, hunger inhibits aversively reinforcing dopaminergic neurons (DANs) to permit the expression of food-seeking memories. Multitasking the reinforcement system for motivation potentially undermines aversive learning. We find that chronic hunger mildly enhances aversive learning and that satiated-baseline and hunger-enhanced learning require endocrine adipokinetic hormone (AKH) signaling. Circulating AKH influences aversive learning via its receptor in four neurons in the ventral brain, two of which are octopaminergic. Connectomics revealed AKH receptor-expressing neurons to be upstream of several classes of ascending neurons, many of which are presynaptic to aversively reinforcing DANs. Octopaminergic modulation of and output from at least one of these ascending pathways is required for shock- and bitter-taste-reinforced aversive learning. We propose that coordinated enhancement of input compensates for hunger-directed inhibition of aversive DANs to preserve reinforcement when required.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date



Drosophila, adipokinetic hormone, aversive learning, dopaminergic system, homeostasis, hunger, modulation, neural circuits, reinforcement