Development of diet-induced insulin resistance in adult Drosophila melanogaster

Siti Nur Sarah Morris, Claire Coogan, Khalil Chamseddin, Sun Ok Fernandez-Kim, Santharam Kolli, Jeffrey N. Keller, Johannes H. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is increasingly utilized as an alternative to costly rodent models to study human diseases. Fly models exist for a wide variety of human conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease, or cardiac function. Advantages of the fly system are its rapid generation time and its low cost. However, the greatest strength of the fly system are the powerful genetic tools that allow for rapid dissection of molecular disease mechanisms. Here, we describe the diet-dependent development of metabolic phenotypes in adult fruit flies. Depending on the specific type of nutrient, as well as its relative quantity in the diet, flies show weight gain and changes in the levels of storage macromolecules. Furthermore, the activity of insulin-signaling in the major metabolic organ of the fly, the fat body, decreases upon overfeeding. This decrease in insulin-signaling activity in overfed flies is moreover observed when flies are challenged with an acute food stimulus, suggesting that overfeeding leads to insulin resistance. Similar changes were observed in aging flies, with the development of the insulin resistance-like phenotype beginning at early middle ages. Taken together, these data demonstrate that imbalanced diet disrupts metabolic homeostasis in adult . D. melanogaster and promotes insulin-resistant phenotypes. Therefore, the fly system may be a useful alternative tool in the investigation of molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance and the development of pharmacologic treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1230-1237
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Diet
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Insulin resistance
  • Insulin signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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