Macronutrients modulate resistance to infection and immunity in Drosophila

Ponton, Fleur and Morimoto, Juliano and Robinson, Katie and Kumar, Sheemal and Cotter, Sheena and Wilson, Kenneth and Simpson, Stephen (2019) Macronutrients modulate resistance to infection and immunity in Drosophila. Functional Ecology . ISSN 0269-8463

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Macronutrients modulate resistance to infection and immunity in Drosophila
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Abstract

• Immunity and nutrition are two essential modulators of individual fitness
• However, while the implications of immune function and nutrition on an individual’s lifespan and reproduction are known, the interplay between nutritional behaviour, infection, and immune function, remains poorly understood.
• In this study, we used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate how infection through septic injury modulates nutritional intake, and how macronutrient balance affects resistance to infection by the pathogenic Gram-positive bacterium Micrococcus luteus.
• Our results show that infected flies maintain carbohydrate intake, but reduce protein intake, thereby shifting from a protein-to-carbohydrate (P:C) ratio of ~1:4 to ~1:10 relative to non-infected and sham-infected flies.
• Strikingly, we found that the proportion of flies dying after M. luteus infection was significantly lower when flies were fed a low-P high-C diet, revealing that flies shift their macronutrient intake as means of nutritional self-medication against bacterial infection.
• This is likely due to the effects of macronutrient balance on the regulation of the constitutive expression of innate immune genes, as a low-P high-C diet was linked to an up-regulation in the expression of key antimicrobial peptides.
• Together, our results reveal the intricate relationship between macronutrient intake and resistance to infection, and integrate the molecular cross-talk between metabolic and immune pathways into the framework of nutritional immunology.

Keywords:Drosophila, immunity, nutrition, gene expression, antimicrobial, self-medication, macronutrient, bacteria
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
C Biological Sciences > C550 Immunology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D327 Animal Nutrition
C Biological Sciences > C440 Molecular Genetics
C Biological Sciences > C500 Microbiology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D320 Animal Health
C Biological Sciences > C111 Parasitology
C Biological Sciences > C340 Entomology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D322 Animal Physiology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:34287
Deposited On:22 Feb 2019 11:15

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