Temperature induces changes in Drosophila energy stores.
ABSTRACT: 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:Understanding how environmental temperature affects metabolic and physiological functions is of crucial importance to assess the impacts of climate change on organisms. Here, we used different laboratory strains and a wild-caught population of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to examine the effect of temperature on the body energy reserves of an ectothermic organism. We found that permanent ambient temperature elevation or transient thermal stress causes significant depletion of body fat stores. Surprisingly, transient thermal stress induces a lasting "memory effect" on body fat storage, which also reduces survivorship of the flies upon food deprivation later after stress exposure. Functional analyses revealed that an intact heat-shock response is essential to protect flies from temperature-dependent body fat decline. Moreover, we found that the temperature-dependent body fat reduction is caused at least in part by apoptosis of fat body cells, which might irreversibly compromise the fat storage capacity of the flies. Altogether, our results provide evidence that thermal stress has a significant negative impact on organismal energy reserves, which in turn might affect individual fitness.
Project description:Starvation is life-threatening and therefore strongly modulates many aspects of animal behavior and physiology . In mammals, hunger causes a reduction in body temperature and metabolism , resulting in conservation of energy for survival. However, the molecular basis of the modulation of thermoregulation by starvation remains largely unclear. Whereas mammals control their body temperature internally, small ectotherms, such as Drosophila, set their body temperature by selecting an ideal environmental temperature through temperature preference behaviors [3, 4]. Here, we demonstrate in Drosophila that starvation results in a lower preferred temperature, which parallels the reduction in body temperature in mammals. The insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling (IIS) pathway is involved in starvation-induced behaviors and physiology and is well conserved in vertebrates and invertebrates [5-7]. We show that insulin-like peptide 6 (Ilp6) in the fat body (fly liver and adipose tissues) is responsible for the starvation-induced reduction in preferred temperature (Tp). Temperature preference behavior is controlled by the anterior cells (ACs), which respond to warm temperatures via transient receptor potential A1 (TrpA1) . We demonstrate that starvation decreases the responding temperature of ACs via insulin signaling, resulting in a lower Tp than in nutrient-rich conditions. Thus, we show that hunger information is conveyed from fat tissues via Ilp6 and influences the sensitivity of warm-sensing neurons in the brain, resulting in a lower temperature set point. Because starvation commonly results in a lower body temperature in both flies and mammals, we propose that insulin signaling is an ancient mediator of starvation-induced thermoregulation.
Project description:Animals rely on complex signaling network to mobilize its energy stores during starvation. We have previously shown that the sugar-responsive TGF?/Activin pathway, activated through the TGF? ligand Dawdle, plays a central role in shaping the post-prandial digestive competence in the Drosophila midgut. Nevertheless, little is known about the TGF?/Activin signaling in sugar metabolism beyond the midgut. Here, we address the importance of Dawdle (Daw) after carbohydrate ingestion. We found that Daw expression is coupled to dietary glucose through the evolutionarily conserved Mio-Mlx transcriptional complex. In addition, Daw activates the TGF?/Activin signaling in neuronal populations to regulate triglyceride and glycogen catabolism and energy homeostasis. Loss of those neurons depleted metabolic reserves and rendered flies susceptible to starvation.
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:Preventing obesity requires a precise balance between deposition into and mobilization from fat stores, but regulatory mechanisms are incompletely understood. Drosophila Split ends (Spen) is the founding member of a conserved family of RNA-binding proteins involved in transcriptional regulation and frequently mutated in human cancers. We find that manipulating Spen expression alters larval fat levels in a cell-autonomous manner. Spen-depleted larvae had defects in energy liberation from stores, including starvation sensitivity and major changes in the levels of metabolic enzymes and metabolites, particularly those involved in ?-oxidation. Spenito, a small Spen family member, counteracted Spen function in fat regulation. Finally, mouse Spen and Spenito transcript levels scaled directly with body fat in vivo, suggesting a conserved role in fat liberation and catabolism. This study demonstrates that Spen is a key regulator of energy balance and provides a molecular context to understand the metabolic defects that arise from Spen dysfunction.
Project description:Sirtuins are an evolutionarily conserved family of NAD+-dependent deacylases that control metabolism, stress response, genomic stability, and longevity. Here, we show the sole mitochondrial sirtuin in Drosophila melanogaster, Sirt4, regulates energy homeostasis and longevity. Sirt4 knockout flies have a short lifespan, with increased sensitivity to starvation and decreased fertility and activity. In contrast, flies overexpressing Sirt4 either ubiquitously or specifically in the fat body are long-lived. Despite rapid starvation, Sirt4 knockout flies paradoxically maintain elevated levels of energy reserves, including lipids, glycogen, and trehalose, while fasting, suggesting an inability to properly catabolize stored energy. Metabolomic analysis indicates several specific pathways are affected in Sirt4 knockout flies, including glycolysis, branched-chain amino acid metabolism, and impaired catabolism of fatty acids with chain length C18 or greater. Together, these phenotypes point to a role for Sirt4 in mediating the organismal response to fasting, and ensuring metabolic homeostasis and longevity.
Project description:Hibernating animals can adjust torpor expression according to available energy reserves. Besides the quantity, the quality of energy reserves could play an important role for overwintering strategies. Common hamsters are food-storing hibernators and show high individual variation in hibernation performance, which might be related to the quality of food hoards in the hibernacula. In this study, we tested the effects of food stores high in fat content, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), on hibernation patterns under laboratory conditions. Control animals received standard rodent pellets only, while in the other group pellets were supplemented with sunflower seeds. We recorded body temperature during winter using subcutaneously implanted data loggers, documented total food consumption during winter, and analysed PUFA proportions in white adipose tissue (WAT) before and after the winter period. About half of the individuals in both groups hibernated and torpor expression did not differ between these animals. Among the high-fat group, however, individuals with high sunflower seeds intake strongly reduced the time spent in deep torpor. PUFA proportions in WAT decreased during winter in both groups and this decline was positively related to the time an individual spent in deep torpor. Sunflower seeds intake dampened the PUFA decline resulting in higher PUFA levels in animals of the high-fat group after winter. In conclusion, our results showed that common hamsters adjusted torpor expression and food intake in relation to the total energy of food reserves, underlining the importance of food hoard quality on hibernation performance.
Project description: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:In order to avoid both starvation and disease, animals must allocate resources between energy reserves and immune defence. We investigate the optimal allocation. We find that animals with low reserves choose to allocate less to defence than animals with higher reserves because when reserves are low it is more important to increase reserves to reduce the risk of starvation in the future. In general, investment in immune defence increases monotonically with energy reserves. An exception is when the animal can reduce its probability of death from disease by reducing its foraging rate. In this case, allocation to immune defence can peak at intermediate reserves. When food changes over time, the optimal response depends on the frequency of changes. If the environment is relatively stable, animals forage most intensively when the food is scarce and invest more in immune defence when the food is abundant than when it is scarce. If the environment changes quickly, animals forage at low intensity when the food is scarce, but at high intensity when the food is abundant. As the rate of environmental change increases, immune defence becomes less dependent on food availability. We show that the strength of selection on reserve-dependent immune defence depends on how foraging intensity and immune defence determine the probability of death from disease.
Project description:The heparan sulfate proteoglycan syndecans are transmembrane proteins involved in multiple physiological processes, including cell-matrix adhesion and inflammation. Recent evidence from model systems and humans suggest that syndecans have a role in energy balance and nutrient metabolism regulation. However, much remains to be learned about the mechanisms through which syndecans influence these phenotypes. Previously, we reported that Drosophila melanogaster Syndecan (Sdc) mutants had reduced metabolic activity compared to controls. Here, we knocked down endogenous Sdc expression in the fat body (the functional equivalent of mammalian adipose tissue and liver) to investigate whether the effects on metabolism originate from this tissue. We found that knocking down Sdc in the fat body leads to flies with higher levels of glycogen and fat and that survive longer during starvation, likely due to their extra energy reserves and an increase in gluconeogenesis. However, compared to control flies, they are also more sensitive to environmental stresses (e.g. bacterial infection and cold) and have reduced metabolic activity under normal feeding conditions. Under the same conditions, fat-body Sdc reduction enhances expression of genes involved in glyceroneogenesis and gluconeogenesis and induces a drastic decrease in phosphorylation levels of AKT and extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Altogether, these findings strongly suggest that Drosophila fat body Sdc is involved in a mechanism that shifts resources to different physiological functions according to nutritional status.