Insulin-like peptides (ILPs) and growth factors (IGFs) not only regulate development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, stress resistance, and lifespan, but also certain behaviors and cognitive functions. ILPs, IGFs, their tyrosine kinase receptors and downstream signaling components have been largely conserved over animal evolution. Eight ILPs have been identified in Drosophila (DILP1-8) and they display cell and stage-specific expression patterns. Only one insulin receptor, dInR, is known in Drosophila and most other invertebrates. Nevertheless, the different DILPs are independently regulated transcriptionally and appear to have distinct functions, although some functional redundancy has been revealed. This review summarizes what is known about regulation of production and release of DILPs in Drosophila with focus on insulin signaling in the daily life of the fly. Under what conditions are DILP-producing cells (IPCs) activated and which factors have been identified in control of IPC activity in larvae and adult flies? The brain IPCs that produce DILP2, 3 and 5 are indirectly targeted by DILP6 and a leptin-like factor from the fat body, as well as directly by a few neurotransmitters and neuropeptides. Serotonin, octopamine, GABA, short neuropeptide F (sNPF), corazonin and tachykinin-related peptide have been identified in Drosophila as regulators of IPCs. The GABAergic cells that inhibit IPCs and DILP release are in turn targeted by a leptin-like peptide (unpaired 2) from the fat body, and the IPC-stimulating corazonin/sNPF neurons may be targeted by gut-derived peptides. We also discuss physiological conditions under which IPC activity may be regulated, including nutritional states, stress and diapause induction.
Keywords: insulin receptor; insulin release; insulin signaling; metabolism; neuromodulation; neuropeptide.