What fuels the fly: Energy metabolism in Drosophila and its application to the study of obesity and diabetes

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Science Advances  09 Jun 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 24, eabg4336
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg4336


The organs and metabolic pathways involved in energy metabolism, and the process of ATP production from nutrients, are comparable between humans and Drosophila melanogaster. This level of conservation, together with the power of Drosophila genetics, makes the fly a very useful model system to study energy homeostasis. Here, we discuss the major organs involved in energy metabolism in Drosophila and how they metabolize different dietary nutrients to generate adenosine triphosphate. Energy metabolism in these organs is controlled by cell-intrinsic, paracrine, and endocrine signals that are similar between Drosophila and mammals. We describe how these signaling pathways are regulated by several physiological and environmental cues to accommodate tissue-, age-, and environment-specific differences in energy demand. Last, we discuss several genetic and diet-induced fly models of obesity and diabetes that can be leveraged to better understand the molecular basis of these metabolic diseases and thereby promote the development of novel therapies.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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