The way in which Drosophila melanogaster
acquires iron from the diet remains poorly understood despite iron absorption being of vital significance for larval growth. To describe the process of organismal iron absorption, consideration needs to be given to cellular iron import, storage, export and how intestinal epithelial cells sense and respond to iron availability. Here we review studies on the Divalent Metal Transporter-1 homolog Malvolio (iron import), the recent discovery that Multicopper Oxidase-1 has ferroxidase activity (iron export) and the role of ferritin in the process of iron acquisition (iron storage). We also describe what is known about iron regulation in insect cells. We then draw upon knowledge from mammalian iron homeostasis to identify candidate genes in flies. Questions arise from the lack of conservation in Drosophila
for key mammalian players, such as ferroportin, hepcidin and all the components of the hemochromatosis-related pathway. Drosophila
and other insects also lack erythropoiesis. Thus, systemic iron regulation is likely to be conveyed by different signaling pathways and tissue requirements. The significance of regulating intestinal iron uptake is inferred from reports linking Drosophila
developmental, immune, heat-shock and behavioral responses to iron sequestration.