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Identification and characterization of mushroom body neurons that regulate fat storage in Drosophila.
Neural Development  (IF3.842),  Pub Date : 2018-08-13, DOI: 10.1186/s13064-018-0116-7
Bader Al-Anzi,Kai Zinn

BACKGROUND In an earlier study, we identified two neuronal populations, c673a and Fru-GAL4, that regulate fat storage in fruit flies. Both populations partially overlap with a structure in the insect brain known as the mushroom body (MB), which plays a critical role in memory formation. This overlap prompted us to examine whether the MB is also involved in fat storage homeostasis. METHODS Using a variety of transgenic agents, we selectively manipulated the neural activity of different portions of the MB and associated neurons to decipher their roles in fat storage regulation. RESULTS Our data show that silencing of MB neurons that project into the α'β' lobes decreases de novo fatty acid synthesis and causes leanness, while sustained hyperactivation of the same neurons causes overfeeding and produces obesity. The α'β' neurons oppose and dominate the fat regulating functions of the c673a and Fru-GAL4 neurons. We also show that MB neurons that project into the γ lobe also regulate fat storage, probably because they are a subset of the Fru neurons. We were able to identify input and output neurons whose activity affects fat storage, feeding, and metabolism. The activity of cholinergic output neurons that innervating the β'2 compartment (MBON-β'2mp and MBON-γ5β'2a) regulates food consumption, while glutamatergic output neurons innervating α' compartments (MBON-γ2α'1 and MBON-α'2) control fat metabolism. CONCLUSIONS We identified a new fat storage regulating center, the α'β' lobes of the MB. We also delineated the neuronal circuits involved in the actions of the α'β' lobes, and showed that food intake and fat metabolism are controlled by separate sets of postsynaptic neurons that are segregated into different output pathways.