Obesity is a metabolic disorder related to improper control of energy uptake and expenditure, which results in excessive accumulation of body fat. Initial insights into the genetic pathways that regulate energy metabolism have been provided by a discrete number of obesity-related genes that have been identified in mammals. Here, we report the identification of the adipose (adp) gene, the mutation of which causes obesity in Drosophila. Loss of adp activity promotes increased fat storage, which extends the lifespan of mutant flies under starvation conditions. By contrast, adp gain-of-function causes a specific reduction of the fat body in Drosophila. adp encodes an evolutionarily conserved WD40/tetratricopeptide-repeat-domain protein that is likely to represent an intermediate in a novel signalling pathway.