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Open AccessArticle

Insulin Signaling in Intestinal Stem and Progenitor Cells as an Important Determinant of Physiological and Metabolic Traits in Drosophila

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, 57 Shevchenka str., 76018 Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine
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Institute of Biochemistry, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2020, 9(4), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9040803 (registering DOI)
Received: 3 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
The insulin–IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway is conserved throughout multicellular organisms and regulates many traits, including aging, reproduction, feeding, metabolism, stress resistance, and growth. Here, we present evidence of a survival-sustaining role for IIS in a subset of gut cells in Drosophila melanogaster, namely the intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and progenitor cells. Using RNAi to knockdown the insulin receptor, we found that inhibition of IIS in ISCs statistically shortened the lifespan of experimental flies compared with non-knockdown controls, and also shortened their survival under starvation or malnutrition conditions. These flies also showed decreased reproduction and feeding, and had lower amounts of glycogen and glucose in the body. In addition, increased expression was observed for the Drosophila transcripts for the insulin-like peptides dilp2, dilp5, and dilp6. This may reflect increased insulin signaling in peripheral tissues supported by up-regulation of the target of the brain insulin gene (tobi). In contrast, activation of IIS (via knockdown of the insulin pathway inhibitor PTEN) in intestinal stem and progenitor cells decreased fly resistance to malnutrition, potentially by affecting adipokinetic hormone signaling. Finally, Pten knockdown to enhance IIS also activated JAK–STAT signaling in gut tissue by up-regulation of upd2, upd3, and soc36 genes, as well as genes encoding the EGF receptor ligands spitz and vein. These results clearly demonstrate that manipulating insulin levels may be used to modulate various fly traits, which are important determinants of organismal survival.
Keywords: insulin signaling pathway; midgut; ISC; progenitor cells; lifespan; metabolism; fruit fly insulin signaling pathway; midgut; ISC; progenitor cells; lifespan; metabolism; fruit fly
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Strilbytska, O.M.; Semaniuk, U.V.; Storey, K.B.; Yurkevych, I.S.; Lushchak, O. Insulin Signaling in Intestinal Stem and Progenitor Cells as an Important Determinant of Physiological and Metabolic Traits in Drosophila. Cells 2020, 9, 803.

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