Temperature induces changes in Drosophila energy stores

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 27;9(1):5239. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41754-5.


Temperature has a profound impact on animal physiology. In this study, we examined the effect of ambient temperature on the energy stores of the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. By exposing adult males to 11 temperatures between 13 °C and 33 °C, we found that temperature significantly affects the amount of energy reserves. Whereas flies increase their fat stores at intermediate temperatures, exposure to temperatures below 15 °C or above 27 °C causes a reduction of fat reserves. Moreover, we found that glycogen stores followed a similar trend, although not so pronounced. To elucidate the underlying mechanism of these changes, we compared the temperature dependence of food consumption and metabolic rate. This analysis revealed that food intake and metabolic rate scale with temperature equally, suggesting that the temperature-induced changes in energy reserves are probably not caused by a mismatch between these two traits. Finally, we assessed the effect of temperature on starvation resistance. We found that starvation survival is a negative exponential function of temperature; however we did not find any clear evidence that implies the relative starvation resistance is compromised at non-optimal temperatures. Our results indicate that whilst optimal temperatures can promote accumulation of energy reserves, exposure to non-optimal temperatures reduces Drosophila energy stores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Temperature*