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Keywords:

  • fat body;
  • insulin;
  • ecdysteroids;
  • oncogene;
  • tumor suppressor;
  • Bombyx mori;
  • Drosophila melanogaster

Abstract

The insect fat body is an organ analogue to vertebrate adipose tissue and liver and functions as a major organ for nutrient storage and energy metabolism. Similar to other larval organs, fat body undergoes a developmental “remodeling” process during the period of insect metamorphosis, with the massive destruction of obsolete larval tissues by programmed cell death and the simultaneous growth and differentiation of adult tissues from small clusters of progenitor cells. Genetic ablation of Drosophila fat body cells during larval-pupal transition results in lethality at the late pupal stage and changes sizes of other larval organs indicating that fat body is the center for pupal development and adult formation. Fat body development and function are largely regulated by several hormonal (i.e. insulin and ecdysteroids) and nutritional signals, including oncogenes and tumor suppressors in these pathways. Combining silkworm physiology with fruitfly genetics might provide a valuable system to understand the mystery of hormonal regulation of insect fat body development and function. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.