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Altered regulation of sleep and feeding contributes to starvation resistance in Drosophila melanogaster.


ABSTRACT: Animals respond to changes in food availability by adjusting sleep and foraging strategies to optimize their fitness. Wild populations of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, display highly variable levels of starvation resistance that are dependent on geographic location, food availability and evolutionary history. How behaviors that include sleep and feeding vary in Drosophila with increased starvation resistance is unclear. We have generated starvation-resistant flies through experimental evolution to investigate the relationship between foraging behaviors and starvation resistance. Outbred populations of D. melanogaster were selected for starvation resistance over 60 generations. This selection process resulted in flies with a threefold increase in total lipids that survive up to 18 days without food. We tested starvation-selected (S) flies for sleep and feeding behaviors to determine the effect that selection for starvation resistance has had on foraging behavior. Flies from three replicated starvation-selected populations displayed a dramatic reduction in feeding and prolonged sleep duration compared to fed control (F) populations, suggesting that modified sleep and feeding may contribute to starvation resistance. A prolonged larval developmental period contributes to the elevated energy stores present in starvation-selected flies. By preventing S larvae from feeding longer than F larvae, we were able to reduce energy stores in adult S flies to the levels seen in adult F flies, thus allowing us to control for energy storage levels. However, the reduction of energy stores in S flies fails to generate normal sleep and feeding behavior seen in F flies with similar energy stores. These findings suggest that the behavioral changes observed in S flies are due to genetic regulation of behavior rather than elevated lipid levels. Testing S-F hybrid individuals for both feeding and sleep revealed a lack of correlation between food consumption and sleep duration, indicating further independence in genetic factors underlying the sleep and feeding changes observed in S flies. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that starvation selection results in prolonged sleep and reduced feeding through a mechanism that is independent of elevated energy stores. These findings suggest that changes in both metabolic function and behavior contribute to the increase in starvation resistance seen in flies selected for starvation resistance.

SUBMITTER: Masek P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4148190 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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