Renal Purge of Hemolymphatic Lipids Prevents the Accumulation of ROS-Induced Inflammatory Oxidized Lipids and Protects Drosophila from Tissue Damage

Immunity. 2020 Feb 18;52(2):374-387.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.01.008.


Animals require complex metabolic and physiological adaptations to maintain the function of vital organs in response to environmental stresses and infection. Here, we found that infection or injury in Drosophila induced the excretion of hemolymphatic lipids by Malpighian tubules, the insect kidney. This lipid purge was mediated by a stress-induced lipid-binding protein, Materazzi, which was enriched in Malpighian tubules. Flies lacking materazzi had higher hemolymph concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and increased lipid peroxidation. These flies also displayed Malpighian tubule dysfunction and were susceptible to infections and environmental stress. Feeding flies with antioxidants rescued the materazzi phenotype, indicating that the main role of Materazzi is to protect the organism from damage caused by stress-induced ROS. Our findings suggest that purging hemolymphatic lipids presents a physiological adaptation to protect host tissues from excessive ROS during immune and stress responses, a process that is likely to apply to other organisms.

Keywords: Drosophila; Malpighian tubules; ROS; excretion; homeostasis; immune adaptation; immunity; lipid peroxidation; stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Diglycerides / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / deficiency
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / immunology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Hemolymph / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism / immunology*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / immunology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / immunology
  • Malpighian Tubules / immunology*
  • Malpighian Tubules / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / immunology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / immunology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Diglycerides
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species