Partial ablation of adult Drosophila insulin-producing neurons modulates glucose homeostasis and extends life span without insulin resistance

Cell Cycle. 2010 Aug 1;9(15):3063-71. doi: 10.4161/cc.9.15.12458. Epub 2010 Aug 20.


In Drosophila melanogaster (D. melanogaster), neurosecretory insulin-like peptide-producing cells (IPCs), analogous to mammalian pancreatic beta cells are involved in glucose homeostasis. Extending those findings, we have developed in the adult fly an oral glucose tolerance test and demonstrated that IPCs indeed are responsible for executing an acute glucose clearance response. To further develop D. melanogaster as a relevant system for studying age-associated metabolic disorders, we set out to determine the impact of adult-specific partial ablation of IPCs (IPC knockdown) on insulin-like peptide (ILP) action, metabolic outcomes and longevity. Interestingly, while IPC knockdown flies are hyperglycemic and glucose intolerant, these flies remain insulin sensitive as measured by peripheral glucose disposal upon insulin injection and serine phosphorylation of a key insulin-signaling molecule, Akt. Significant increases in stored glycogen and triglyceride levels as well as an elevated level of circulating lipid measured in adult IPC knockdown flies suggest profound modulation in energy metabolism. Additional physiological outcomes measured in those flies include increased resistance to starvation and impaired female fecundity. Finally, increased life span and decreased mortality rates measured in IPC knockdown flies demonstrate that it is possible to modulate ILP action in adult flies to achieve life span extension without insulin resistance. Taken together, we have established and validated an invertebrate genetic system to further investigate insulin action, metabolic homeostasis and regulation of aging regulated by adult IPCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Insulin
  • Glycogen
  • Glucose