Image_3_Immune Control of Animal Growth in Homeostasis and Nutritional Stress in Drosophila.JPEG (821.62 kB)

Image_3_Immune Control of Animal Growth in Homeostasis and Nutritional Stress in Drosophila.JPEG

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posted on 03.08.2020 by Preethi P, Ajay Tomar, Sukanya Madhwal, Tina Mukherjee

A large body of research implicates the brain and fat body (liver equivalent) as central players in coordinating growth and nutritional homeostasis in multicellular animals. In this regard, an underlying connection between immune cells and growth is also evident, although mechanistic understanding of this cross-talk is scarce. Here, we explore the importance of innate immune cells in animal growth during homeostasis and in conditions of nutrient stress. We report that Drosophila larvae lacking blood cells eclose as small adults and show signs of insulin insensitivity. Moreover, when exposed to dietary stress of a high-sucrose diet (HSD), these animals are further growth retarded than normally seen in regular animals raised on HSD. In contrast, larvae carrying increased number of activated macrophage-like plasmatocytes show no defects in adult growth when raised on HSD and grow to sizes almost comparable with that seen with regular diet. These observations imply a central role for immune cell activity in growth control. Mechanistically, our findings reveal a surprising influence of immune cells on balancing fat body inflammation and insulin signaling under conditions of homeostasis and nutrient overload as a means to coordinate systemic metabolism and adult growth. This work integrates both the cellular and humoral arm of the innate immune system in organismal growth homeostasis, the implications of which may be broadly conserved across mammalian systems as well.

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