Project description:Suitable alterations in gene expression are believed to allow animals to survive drastic changes in environmental conditions. Drosophila melanogaster larvae cease eating and exit moist food to search for dry pupation sites after the foraging stage in what is known as the wandering stage. Although the behavioral change from foraging to wandering causes desiccation stress, the mechanism by which Drosophila larvae protect themselves from desiccation remains obscure. Here, we identified a gene, CG14686 (designated as Desiccate (Desi)), whose expression was elevated during the wandering stage. The Desi expression level was reversibly decreased by transferring wandering larvae to wet conditions and increased again by transferring them to dry conditions. Elevation of Desi expression was also observed in foraging larvae when they were placed in dry conditions. Desi encoded a 261-amino acid single-pass transmembrane protein with notable motifs, such as SH2 and PDZ domain-binding motifs and a cAMP-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation motif, in the cytoplasmic region, and its expression was observed mainly in the epidermal cells of the larval integuments. Overexpression of Desi slightly increased the larval resistance to desiccation stress during the second instar. Furthermore, Desi RNAi larvae lost more weight under dry conditions, and subsequently, their mortalities significantly increased compared with control larvae. Under dry conditions, consumption of carbohydrate was much higher in Desi RNAi larvae than control larvae. Based on these results, it is reasonable to conclude that Desi contributes to the resistance of Drosophila larvae to desiccation stress.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster is widely used as a model organism for biological investigations, and food is a major aspect of its ecology and evolutionary biology. Previous studies have shown that this insect can use fruits, yeasts and insect carcasses as its food sources. In this study, we demonstrate that this species is an omnivore, that its larvae can exploit not only fruits and yeast but also foods of animal origin (FAOs), and that larvae consume adult carcasses regularly. FAO-fed larvae develop into adulthood within a normal developmental time frame without the help of microbes. Yeast foods are better for Drosophila development than are foods of plant origin (FPOs) or FAO because in yeast foods, more eggs complete their life cycle, and the body size of emerged flies is much greater. Flies can use a mixture of yeast-FAO, which significantly boosts female fertility. Larvae digest FAOs externally. Larval D. virilis, D. hydei, and D. simulans are also omnivorous and demonstrate the same feeding habits as larval D. melanogaster. These findings prompt us to reconsider previous conclusions about the original adaptations of D. melanogaster and other Drosophila species and have direct implications for diet-related studies using Drosophila as a model organism.
Project description:Drosophila melanogaster larvae are classified as herbivores and known to feed on non-carnivorous diet under normal conditions. However, when nutritionally challenged these larvae exhibit cannibalistic behaviour by consuming a diet composed of larger conspecifics. Herein, we report that cannibalism in Drosophila larvae is confined not only to scavenging on conspecifics that are larger in size, but also on their eggs. Moreover, such cannibalistic larvae develop as normally as those grown on standard cornmeal medium. When stressed, Drosophila melanogaster larvae can also consume a carnivorous diet derived from carcasses of organisms belonging to diverse taxonomic groups, including Musca domestica, Apis mellifera, and Lycosidae sp. While adults are ill-equipped to devour conspecific carcasses, they selectively oviposit on them and also consume damaged cadavers of conspecifics. Thus, our results suggest that nutritionally stressed Drosophila show distinct as well as unusual feeding behaviours that can be classified as detritivorous, cannibalistic and/or carnivorous.
Project description:Sleep is nearly universal among animals, yet remains poorly understood. Recent work has leveraged simple model organisms, such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster larvae, to investigate the genetic and neural bases of sleep. However, manual methods of recording sleep behavior in these systems are labor intensive and low in throughput. To address these limitations, we developed methods for quantitative imaging of individual animals cultivated in custom microfabricated multiwell substrates, and used them to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying sleep. Here, we describe the steps necessary to design, produce, and image these plates, as well as analyze the resulting behavioral data. We also describe approaches for experimentally manipulating sleep. Following these procedures, after ~2 h of experimental preparation, we are able to simultaneously image 24 C. elegans from the second larval stage to adult stages or 20 Drosophila larvae during the second instar life stage at a spatial resolution of 10 or 27 µm, respectively. Although this system has been optimized to measure activity and quiescence in Caenorhabditis larvae and adults and in Drosophila larvae, it can also be used to assess other behaviors over short or long periods. Moreover, with minor modifications, it can be adapted for the behavioral monitoring of a wide range of small animals.
Project description:The cellular immune response against parasitoid wasps in Drosophila involves the activation, mobilization, proliferation and differentiation of different blood cell types. Here, we have assessed the role of Edin (elevated during infection) in the immune response against the parasitoid wasp Leptopilina boulardi in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. The expression of edin was induced within hours after a wasp infection in larval fat bodies. Using tissue-specific RNAi, we show that Edin is an important determinant of the encapsulation response. Although edin expression in the fat body was required for the larvae to mount a normal encapsulation response, it was dispensable in hemocytes. Edin expression in the fat body was not required for lamellocyte differentiation, but it was needed for the increase in plasmatocyte numbers and for the release of sessile hemocytes into the hemolymph. We conclude that edin expression in the fat body affects the outcome of a wasp infection by regulating the increase of plasmatocyte numbers and the mobilization of sessile hemocytes in Drosophila larvae.
Project description:Cytochrome P450s form a large and diverse family of heme-containing proteins capable of carrying out many different enzymatic reactions. In both mammals and plants, some P450s are known to carry out reactions essential for processes such as hormone synthesis, while other P450s are involved in the detoxification of environmental compounds. In general, functions of insect P450s are less well understood. We characterized Drosophila melanogaster P450 expression patterns in embryos and 2 stages of third instar larvae. We identified numerous P450s expressed in the fat body, Malpighian (renal) tubules, and in distinct regions of the midgut, consistent with hypothesized roles in detoxification processes, and other P450s expressed in organs such as the gonads, corpora allata, oenocytes, hindgut, and brain. Combining expression pattern data with an RNA interference lethality screen of individual P450s, we identify candidate P450s essential for developmental processes and distinguish them from P450s with potential functions in detoxification.
Project description:Alterations and impairment of immune responses in humans present a health risk for space exploration missions. The molecular mechanisms underpinning innate immune defense can be confounded by the complexity of the acquired immune system of humans. Drosophila (fruit fly) innate immunity is simpler, and shares many similarities with human innate immunity at the level of molecular and genetic pathways. The goals of this study were to elucidate fundamental immune processes in Drosophila affected by spaceflight and to measure host-pathogen responses post-flight. Five containers, each containing ten female and five male fruit flies, were housed and bred on the space shuttle (average orbit altitude of 330.35 km) for 12 days and 18.5 hours. A new generation of flies was reared in microgravity. In larvae, the immune system was examined by analyzing plasmatocyte number and activity in culture. In adults, the induced immune responses were analyzed by bacterial clearance and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) of selected genes following infection with E. coli. The RNA levels of relevant immune pathway genes were determined in both larvae and adults by microarray analysis. The ability of larval plasmatocytes to phagocytose E. coli in culture was attenuated following spaceflight, and in parallel, the expression of genes involved in cell maturation was downregulated. In addition, the level of constitutive expression of pattern recognition receptors and opsonins that specifically recognize bacteria, and of lysozymes, antimicrobial peptide (AMP) pathway and immune stress genes, hallmarks of humoral immunity, were also reduced in larvae. In adults, the efficiency of bacterial clearance measured in vivo following a systemic infection with E. coli post-flight, remained robust. We show that spaceflight altered both cellular and humoral immune responses in Drosophila and that the disruption occurs at multiple interacting pathways.
Project description:Tumor suppressor p53 plays a key role in DNA damage responses in metazoa, yet more than half of human tumors show p53 deficiencies. Therefore, understanding how therapeutic genotoxins such as ionizing radiation (IR) can elicit DNA damage responses in a p53-independent manner is of clinical importance. Drosophila has been a good model to study the effects of IR because DNA damage responses as well as underlying genes are conserved in this model, and because streamlined gene families make loss-of-function analyses feasible. Indeed, Drosophila is the only genetically tractable model for IR-induced, p53-independent apoptosis and for tissue regeneration and homeostasis after radiation damage. While these phenomenon occur only in the larvae, all genome-wide gene expression analyses after irradiation to date have been in embryos. We report here the first analysis of IR-induced, genome-wide gene expression changes in wild type and p53 mutant Drosophila larvae. Key data from microarrays were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. The results solidify the central role of p53 in IR-induced transcriptome changes, but also show that nearly all changes are made of both p53-dependent and p53-independent components. p53 is found to be necessary not just for the induction of but also for the repression of transcript levels for many genes in response to IR. Furthermore, Functional analysis of one of the top-changing genes, EF1a-100E, implicates it in repression of IR-induced p53-independent apoptosis. These and other results support the emerging notion that there is not a single dominant mechanism but that both positive and negative inputs collaborate to induce p53-independent apoptosis in response to IR in Drosophila larvae.
Project description:Larvae of Drosophila melanogaster reared at 23°C and switched to 14°C for 1 h are 0.5°C warmer than the surrounding medium. In keeping with dissipation of energy, respiration of Drosophila melanogaster larvae cannot be decreased by the F-ATPase inhibitor oligomycin or stimulated by protonophore. Silencing of Ucp4C conferred sensitivity of respiration to oligomycin and uncoupler, and prevented larva-to-adult progression at 15°C but not 23°C. Uncoupled respiration of larval mitochondria required palmitate, was dependent on Ucp4C and was inhibited by guanosine diphosphate. UCP4C is required for development through the prepupal stages at low temperatures and may be an uncoupling protein.