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Insulin-producing cells and their regulation in physiology and behavior of Drosophila

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Insulin-like peptide signaling regulates development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, stress resistance, and life span in a wide spectrum of animals. Not only the peptides, but also their tyrosine kinase receptors and the downstream signaling pathways are conserved over evolution. This review summarizes roles of insulin-like peptides (DILPs) in physiology and behavior of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830. Seven DILPs (DILP1–7) and one receptor (dInR) have been identified in Drosophila. These DILPs display cell and stage specific expression patterns. In the adult, DILP2, 3, and 5 are expressed in insulin-producing cells (IPCs) among the median neurosecretory cells of the brain, DILP7 in 20 neurons of the abdominal ganglion, and DILP6 in the fat body. The DILPs of the IPCs regulate starvation resistance, responses to oxidative and temperature stress, and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Furthermore, the IPCs seem to regulate feeding, locomotor activity, sleep and ethanol sensitivity, but the mechanisms are not elucidated. Insulin also alters the sensitivity in the olfactory system that affects food search behavior, and regulates peptidergic neurons that control aspects of feeding behavior. Finally, the control of insulin production and release by humoral and neuronal factors is discussed. This includes a fat body derived factor and the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, octopamine, and two neuropeptides.

Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster; fruit fly; insulin signaling; insulin-like peptide; mouche du vinaigre; neuropeptides; neurotransmetteurs; neurotransmitters; peptide de type insuline; signalisation de l’insuline

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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