A fat-derived metabolite regulates a peptidergic feeding circuit in Drosophila

Journal: PLOS Biology

Published: 2017-03-28

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2000532

Affiliations: 2

Authors: 5

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Research Highlight

Enough already, fat cells tell brain

© Jenny Dettrick/Moment/Getty

© Jenny Dettrick/Moment/Getty

Fat cells are not just passive blobs that store energy, but active players that control feeding behaviour, a fruit fly study shows.

A South Korea–based team led by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology identified a fat-derived molecule that tells the fly brain to stop eating when energy reserves are large enough.

The authors showed that there are three enzymes — two in fat cells, one in the brain — that respond to feeding by producing a molecule, called tetrahydrobiopterin, that signals to particular neurons to reduce their expression of an appetite-promoting neurotransmitter.

Because fruit flies and humans share many of the same feeding-related regulatory mechanisms and genes, it’s possible that a similar process controls our food intake. That raises the tantalizing possibility of manipulating this appetite-suppression system to treat weight gain or loss.

The research was published in PLOS Biology.

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  1. PLOS Biology 15, e2000532 (2017). doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2000532
Institutions Share
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea 0.60
Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), South Korea 0.40