The digestive tract of Drosophila melanogaster

Annu Rev Genet. 2013;47:377-404. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-111212-133343.


The digestive tract plays a central role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Far from being a passive tube, it provides the first line of defense against pathogens and maintains energy homeostasis by exchanging neuronal and endocrine signals with other organs. Historically neglected, the gut of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has recently come to the forefront of Drosophila research. Areas as diverse as stem cell biology, neurobiology, metabolism, and immunity are benefitting from the ability to study the genetics of development, growth regulation, and physiology in the same organ. In this review, we summarize our knowledge of the Drosophila digestive tract, with an emphasis on the adult midgut and its functional underpinnings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Digestion
  • Digestive System / anatomy & histology*
  • Digestive System / immunology
  • Digestive System / innervation
  • Digestive System / microbiology
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / immunology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiology
  • Enteroendocrine Cells / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Larva
  • Longevity
  • Mucus / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones