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.
Project description:Animals maximize fitness by modulating sleep and foraging strategies in response to changes in nutrient availability. Wild populations of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, display highly variable levels of starvation and desiccation resistance that differ in accordance with geographic location, nutrient availability, and evolutionary history. Further, flies potently modulate sleep in response to changes in food availability, and selection for starvation resistance enhances sleep, revealing strong genetic relationships between sleep and nutrient availability. To determine the genetic and evolutionary relationship between sleep and nutrient deprivation, we assessed sleep in flies selected for desiccation or starvation resistance. While starvation resistant flies have higher levels of triglycerides, desiccation resistant flies have enhanced glycogen stores, indicative of distinct physiological adaptations to food or water scarcity. Strikingly, selection for starvation resistance, but not desiccation resistance, leads to increased sleep, indicating that enhanced sleep is not a generalized consequence of higher energy stores. Thermotolerance is not altered in starvation or desiccation resistant flies, providing further evidence for context-specific adaptation to environmental stressors. F2 hybrid flies were generated by crossing starvation selected flies with desiccation selected flies, and the relationship between nutrient deprivation and sleep was examined. Hybrids exhibit a positive correlation between starvation resistance and sleep, while no interaction was detected between desiccation resistance and sleep, revealing that prolonged sleep provides an adaptive response to starvation stress. Therefore, these findings demonstrate context-specific evolution of enhanced sleep in response to chronic food deprivation, and provide a model for understanding the evolutionary relationship between sleep and nutrient availability.
Project description:Feeding and sleep are highly conserved, interconnected behaviors essential for survival. Starvation has been shown to potently suppress sleep across species; however, whether satiety promotes sleep is still unclear. Here we use the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism to address the interaction between feeding and sleep. We first monitored the sleep of flies that had been starved for 24 h and found that sleep amount increased in the first 4 h after flies were given food. Increased sleep after starvation was due to an increase in sleep bout number and average sleep bout length. Mutants of translin or adipokinetic hormone, which fail to suppress sleep during starvation, still exhibited a sleep increase after starvation, suggesting that sleep increase after starvation is not a consequence of sleep loss during starvation. We also found that feeding activity and food consumption were higher in the first 10-30 min after starvation. Restricting food consumption in starved flies to 30 min was sufficient to increase sleep for 1 h. Although flies ingested a comparable amount of food at differing sucrose concentrations, sleep increase after starvation on a lower sucrose concentration was undetectable. Taken together, our results suggest that increased food intake after starvation enhances sleep and reveals a novel relationship between feeding and sleep.
Project description:Large genetic variations in starvation tolerance in animals indicate that there are multiple strategies to cope with low-nutrient conditions. Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) typically respond to starvation by suppressing sleep and enhancing locomotor activity presumably to search for food. However, we hypothesized that in a natural population, there are costs and benefits to sleep suppression under low-nutrient conditions and that conserving energy through sleep could be a better strategy depending on food availability. In this study, we quantified the variation in sleep-related traits in 21 wild-derived inbred lines from Katsunuma, Japan, under fed and starved conditions and analysed the relationship between those traits and starvation tolerance. Although most of the lines responded to starvation by suppressing the total time in sleep, there were indeed two lines that responded by significantly increasing the sleep-bout durations and thus not reducing the total time in sleep. These genotypes survived longer in acute starvation conditions compared to genotypes that responded by the immediate suppression of sleep, which could be due to the reduced metabolic rate during the long uninterrupted sleep bouts. The coexistence of the enhanced foraging and resting strategies upon starvation within a single population is consistent with the presence of a behavioural trade-off between food search and energy conservation due to unpredictable food availability in nature. These results provide insights into the evolutionary mechanisms that contribute to the maintenance of genetic variations underlying environmental stress resistance.
Project description:Dysregulation of sleep or feeding has enormous health consequences. In humans, acute sleep loss is associated with increased appetite and insulin insensitivity, while chronically sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to develop obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, metabolic state potently modulates sleep and circadian behavior; yet, the molecular basis for sleep-metabolism interactions remains poorly understood. Here, we describe the identification of translin (trsn), a highly conserved RNA/DNA binding protein, as essential for starvation-induced sleep suppression. Strikingly, trsn does not appear to regulate energy stores, free glucose levels, or feeding behavior suggesting the sleep phenotype of trsn mutant flies is not a consequence of general metabolic dysfunction or blunted response to starvation. While broadly expressed in all neurons, trsn is transcriptionally upregulated in the heads of flies in response to starvation. Spatially restricted rescue or targeted knockdown localizes trsn function to neurons that produce the tachykinin family neuropeptide Leucokinin. Manipulation of neural activity in Leucokinin neurons revealed these neurons to be required for starvation-induced sleep suppression. Taken together, these findings establish trsn as an essential integrator of sleep and metabolic state, with implications for understanding the neural mechanism underlying sleep disruption in response to environmental perturbation.
Project description:Adequate energy stores are essential for survival, and sophisticated neuroendocrine mechanisms evolved to stimulate foraging in response to nutrient deprivation. Food search behavior is usually investigated in young animals, and it is not known how aging alters this behavior. To address this question in Drosophila melanogaster, we compared the ability to locate food by olfaction in young and old flies using a food-filled trap. As aging is associated with a decline in motor functions, learning, and memory, we expected that aged flies would take longer to enter the food trap than their young counterparts. Surprisingly, old flies located food with significantly shorter latency than young ones. Robust food search behavior was associated with significantly lower fat reserves and lower starvation resistance in old flies. Food-finding latency (FFL) was shortened in young wild-type flies that were starved until their fat was depleted but also in heterozygous chico mutants with reduced insulin receptor activity and higher fat deposits. Conversely, food trap entry was delayed in old flies with increased insulin signaling. Our results suggest that the difference in FFL between young and old flies is linked to age-dependent differences in metabolic status and may be mediated by reduced insulin signaling.
Project description:BACKGROUND:One hypothesis for the function of sleep is that it serves as a mechanism to conserve energy. Recent studies have suggested that increased sleep can be an adaptive mechanism to improve survival under food deprivation in Drosophila melanogaster. To test the generality of this hypothesis, we compared sleep and its plastic response to starvation in a temperate and tropical population of Drosophila melanogaster. RESULTS:We found that flies from the temperate population were more starvation resistant, and hypothesized that they would engage in behaviors that are considered to conserve energy, including increased sleep and reduced movement. Surprisingly, temperate flies slept less and moved more when they were awake compared to tropical flies, both under fed and starved conditions, therefore sleep did not correlate with population-level differences in starvation resistance. In contrast, total sleep and percent change in sleep when starved were strongly positively correlated with starvation resistance within the tropical population, but not within the temperate population. Thus, we observe unexpectedly complex relationships between starvation and sleep that vary both within and across populations. These observations falsify the simple hypothesis of a straightforward relationship between sleep and energy conservation. We also tested the hypothesis that starvation is correlated with metabolic phenotypes by investigating stored lipid and carbohydrate levels, and found that stored metabolites partially contributed towards variation starvation resistance. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings demonstrate that the function of sleep under starvation can rapidly evolve on short timescales and raise new questions about the physiological correlates of sleep and the extent to which variation in sleep is shaped by natural selection.
Project description:Neural systems controlling the vital functions of sleep and feeding in mammals are tightly interconnected: sleep deprivation promotes feeding, whereas starvation suppresses sleep. Here we show that starvation in Drosophila potently suppresses sleep, suggesting that these two homeostatically regulated behaviors are also integrated in flies. The sleep-suppressing effect of starvation is independent of the mushroom bodies, a previously identified sleep locus in the fly brain, and therefore is regulated by distinct neural circuitry. The circadian clock genes Clock (Clk) and cycle (cyc) are critical for proper sleep suppression during starvation. However, the sleep suppression is independent of light cues and of circadian rhythms as shown by the fact that starved period mutants sleep like wild-type flies. By selectively targeting subpopulations of Clk-expressing neurons, we localize the observed sleep phenotype to the dorsally located circadian neurons. These findings show that Clk and cyc act during starvation to modulate the conflict of whether flies sleep or search for food.
Project description:Temperature has a profound impact on animal physiology. In this study, we examined the effect of ambient temperature on the energy stores of the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. By exposing adult males to 11 temperatures between 13?°C and 33?°C, we found that temperature significantly affects the amount of energy reserves. Whereas flies increase their fat stores at intermediate temperatures, exposure to temperatures below 15?°C or above 27?°C causes a reduction of fat reserves. Moreover, we found that glycogen stores followed a similar trend, although not so pronounced. To elucidate the underlying mechanism of these changes, we compared the temperature dependence of food consumption and metabolic rate. This analysis revealed that food intake and metabolic rate scale with temperature equally, suggesting that the temperature-induced changes in energy reserves are probably not caused by a mismatch between these two traits. Finally, we assessed the effect of temperature on starvation resistance. We found that starvation survival is a negative exponential function of temperature; however we did not find any clear evidence that implies the relative starvation resistance is compromised at non-optimal temperatures. Our results indicate that whilst optimal temperatures can promote accumulation of energy reserves, exposure to non-optimal temperatures reduces Drosophila energy stores.
Project description:Starved animals often exhibit elevated locomotion, which has been speculated to partly resemble foraging behavior and facilitate food acquisition and energy intake. Despite its importance, the neural mechanism underlying this behavior remains unknown in any species. In this study we confirmed and extended previous findings that starvation induced locomotor activity in adult fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster. We also showed that starvation-induced hyperactivity was directed toward the localization and acquisition of food sources, because it could be suppressed upon the detection of food cues via both central nutrient-sensing and peripheral sweet-sensing mechanisms, via induction of food ingestion. We further found that octopamine, the insect counterpart of vertebrate norepinephrine, as well as the neurons expressing octopamine, were both necessary and sufficient for starvation-induced hyperactivity. Octopamine was not required for starvation-induced changes in feeding behaviors, suggesting independent regulations of energy intake behaviors upon starvation. Taken together, our results establish a quantitative behavioral paradigm to investigate the regulation of energy homeostasis by the CNS and identify a conserved neural substrate that links organismal metabolic state to a specific behavioral output.
Project description:Starvation caused by adverse feeding stresses or food shortages has been reported to result in sleep loss in animals. However, how the starvation signal interacts with the central nervous system is still unknown. Here, the adipokinetic hormone (AKH)-Fork head Box-O (FOXO) pathway is shown to respond to energy change and adjust the sleep of Drosophila through remodeling of the s-LNv (small ventral lateral neurons) dorsal projections. Our results show that starvation prevents flies from going to sleep after the first light-dark transition. The LNvs are required for starvation-induced sleep loss through extension of the pigment dispersing factor (PDF)-containing s-LNv dorsal projections. Further studies reveal that loss of AKH or AKHR (akh receptor) function blocks starvation-induced extension of s-LNv dorsal projections and rescues sleep suppression during food deprivation. FOXO, which has been reported to regulate synapse plasticity of neurons, acts as starvation response factor downstream of AKH, and down regulation of FOXO level considerably alleviates the influence of starvation on s-LNv dorsal projections and sleep. Taking together, our results outline the transduction pathways between starvation signal and sleep, and reveal a novel functional site for sleep regulation.