There is growing evidence that intestinal bacteria are important beneficial partners of their metazoan hosts. Recent observations suggest a strong link between commensal bacteria, host energy metabolism, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. As a consequence, the gut microbiota is now considered a "host" factor that influences energy uptake. However, the impact of intestinal bacteria on other systemic physiological parameters still remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila microbiota promotes larval growth upon nutrient scarcity. We reveal that Lactobacillus plantarum, a commensal bacterium of the Drosophila intestine, is sufficient on its own to recapitulate the natural microbiota growth-promoting effect. L. plantarum exerts its benefit by acting genetically upstream of the TOR-dependent host nutrient sensing system controlling hormonal growth signaling. Our results indicate that the intestinal microbiota should also be envisaged as a factor that influences the systemic growth of its host.
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