November 2020
Vol 6, Issue 46

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER While previous research has suggested that unhealthy foods with lots of sugar, salt, and fat skew human perceptions of taste, nudging us to overindulge in them, the molecular mechanisms behind this phenomenon have been difficult to identify due to the complexity of taste in mammals. To explore these mechanisms in a simpler organism, Vaziri et al. fed Drosophila melanogaster flies either a sugary diet (30% sucrose) or a control diet (5% sucrose) for 7 days. Afterwards, they compared the flies' responses to three different concentrations of sweetness based on how far they extended their proboscises—an established proxy for taste response commonly used by fruit fly researchers—finding that flies fed the high-sugar diet showed a substantially decreased response to sweet taste compared to the control group. However, flies with mutations in one or more of the protein components of the PRC2.1 complex showed the same response to sweet taste on both diets, further indicating this epigenetic regulator's important role in dulling sugar perceptions. [CREDIT: NIUSHA SHODJA AND SAINA HESHMATI FROM THE STORYBOOK COMPANY LLC]