Regulatory peptides in fruit fly midgut

Cell Tissue Res. 2008 Dec;334(3):499-516. doi: 10.1007/s00441-008-0708-3. Epub 2008 Oct 30.


Regulatory peptides were immunolocalized in the midgut of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Endocrine cells were found to produce six different peptides: allatostatins A, B and C, neuropeptide F, diuretic hormone 31, and the tachykinins. Small neuropeptide-F (sNPF) was found in neurons in the hypocerebral ganglion innervating the anterior midgut, whereas pigment-dispersing factor was found in nerves on the most posterior part of the posterior midgut. Neuropeptide-F (NPF)-producing endocrine cells were located in the anterior and middle midgut and in the very first part of the posterior midgut. All NPF endocrine cells also produced tachykinins. Endocrine cells containing diuretic hormone 31 were found in the caudal half of the posterior midgut; these cells also produced tachykinins. Other endocrine cells produced exclusively tachykinins in the anterior and posterior extemities of the midgut. Allatostatin-immunoreactive endocrine cells were present throughout the midgut. Those in the caudal half of the posterior midgut produced allatostatins A, whereas those in the anterior, middle, and first half of the posterior midgut produced allatostatin C. In the middle of the posterior midgut, some endocrine cells produced both allatostatins A and C. Allatostatin-C-immunoreactive endocrine cells were particularly prominent in the first half of the posterior midgut. Allatostatin B/MIP-immunoreactive cells were not consistently found and, when present, were only weakly immunoreactive, forming a subgroup of the allatostatin-C-immunoreactive cells in the posterior midgut. Previous work on Drosophila and other insect species suggested that (FM)RFamide-immunoreactive endocrine cells in the insect midgut could produce NPF, sNPF, myosuppressin, and/or sulfakinins. Using a combination of specific antisera to these peptides and transgenic fly models, we showed that the endocrine cells in the adult Drosophila midgut produced exclusively NPF. Although the Drosophila insulin gene Ilp3 was abundantly expressed in the midgut, Ilp3 was not expressed in endocrine cells, but in midgut muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Digestive System / cytology
  • Digestive System / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Endocrine Cells / cytology
  • Endocrine Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Insect Hormones / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Tachykinins / metabolism


  • Dh31 protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptides
  • Tachykinins
  • pdf protein, Drosophila
  • allatostatin
  • arginylphenylalaninamide