The production of offspring is energetically costly and relies on incompletely understood mechanisms that generate a positive energy balance. In mothers of many species, changes in key energy-associated internal organs are common yet poorly characterised functionally and mechanistically. In this study, we show that, in adult Drosophila females, the midgut is dramatically remodelled to enhance reproductive output. In contrast to extant models, organ remodelling does not occur in response to increased nutrient intake and/or offspring demands, but rather precedes them. With spatially and temporally directed manipulations, we identify juvenile hormone (JH) as an anticipatory endocrine signal released after mating. Acting through intestinal bHLH-PAS domain proteins Methoprene-tolerant (Met) and Germ cell-expressed (Gce), JH signals directly to intestinal progenitors to yield a larger organ, and adjusts gene expression and sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) activity in enterocytes to support increased lipid metabolism. Our findings identify a metabolically significant paradigm of adult somatic organ remodelling linking hormonal signals, epithelial plasticity, and reproductive output.
Keywords: D. melanogaster; developmental biology; intestine; organ plasticity; stem cells.