The central clock neurons regulate lipid storage in Drosophila

Justin R. DiAngelo, Renske Erion, Amanda Crocker, Amita Sehgal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A proper balance of lipid breakdown and synthesis is essential for achieving energy homeostasis as alterations in either of these processes can lead to pathological states such as obesity. The regulation of lipid metabolism is quite complex with multiple signals integrated to control overall triglyceride levels in metabolic tissues. Based upon studies demonstrating effects of the circadian clock on metabolism, we sought to determine if the central clock cells in the Drosophila brain contribute to lipid levels in the fat body, the main nutrient storage organ of the fly. Here, we show that altering the function of the Drosophila central clock neurons leads to an increase in fat body triglycerides. We also show that although triglyceride levels are not affected by age, they are increased by expression of the amyloid-beta protein in central clock neurons. The effect on lipid storage seems to be independent of circadian clock output as changes in triglycerides are not always observed in genetic manipulations that result in altered locomotor rhythms. These data demonstrate that the activity of the central clock neurons is necessary for proper lipid storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere19921
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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