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Genetics. 2017 Jun;206(2):587-602. doi: 10.1534/genetics.116.197780.

Genetic Dissection of Nutrition-Induced Plasticity in Insulin/Insulin-Like Growth Factor Signaling and Median Life Span in a Drosophila Multiparent Population.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211.
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211


The nutritional environments that organisms experience are inherently variable, requiring tight coordination of how resources are allocated to different functions relative to the total amount of resources available. A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that key endocrine pathways play a fundamental role in this coordination. In particular, the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS) and target of rapamycin (TOR) pathways have been implicated in nutrition-dependent changes in metabolism and nutrient allocation. However, little is known about the genetic basis of standing variation in IIS/TOR or how diet-dependent changes in expression in this pathway influence phenotypes related to resource allocation. To characterize natural genetic variation in the IIS/TOR pathway, we used >250 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a multiparental mapping population, the Drosophila Synthetic Population Resource, to map transcript-level QTL of genes encoding 52 core IIS/TOR components in three different nutritional environments [dietary restriction (DR), control (C), and high sugar (HS)]. Nearly all genes, 87%, were significantly differentially expressed between diets, though not always in ways predicted by loss-of-function mutants. We identified cis (i.e., local) expression QTL (eQTL) for six genes, all of which are significant in multiple nutrient environments. Further, we identified trans (i.e., distant) eQTL for two genes, specific to a single nutrient environment. Our results are consistent with many small changes in the IIS/TOR pathways. A discriminant function analysis for the C and DR treatments identified a pattern of gene expression associated with the diet treatment. Mapping the composite discriminant function scores revealed a significant global eQTL within the DR diet. A correlation between the discriminant function scores and the median life span (r = 0.46) provides evidence that gene expression changes in response to diet are associated with longevity in these RILs.


Drosophila melanogaster; MPP; Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC); TOR signaling; diet; eQTLs; insulin signaling; life span; multiparental populations

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