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J Exp Biol. 2008 Oct;211(Pt 19):3160-6. doi: 10.1242/jeb.010124.

Natural variation in plasticity of glucose homeostasis and food intake.

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Department of Biology, University of Toronto, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 1C6.


Balancing the acquisition, allocation and storage of energy during periods of food deprivation is critical for survival. We show that natural variation in the foraging (for) gene, which encodes a cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, affects behavioral and physiological responses to short-term food deprivation. Rover and sitter, natural allelic variants of for, differ in their stored carbohydrate reserves as well as their response to short-term deprivation. Fewer carbohydrates are stored in the fat body of rovers compared with sitters, and more labeled glucose is allocated to lipid stores compared with carbohydrate stores during a short feeding bout. Short-term food deprivation decreases hemolymph glucose levels in rovers but not in sitters. After food deprivation, rovers increase their food intake more slowly than sitters, and rover hemolymph levels take longer to respond to re-feeding. Finally, rovers have lower adipokinetic hormone (akh) mRNA levels than sitters. Our data suggest that for mediates larval responses to short-term food deprivation by altering food intake and blood glucose levels.

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