Authors: André N Alves, Carla M Sgrò, Matthew DW Piper, and Christen K Mirth
Published in: Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Nutrition shapes a broad range of life-history traits, ultimately impacting animal fitness. A key fitness-related trait, female fecundity is well known to change as a function of diet. In particular, the availability of dietary protein is one of the main drivers of egg production, and in the absence of essential amino acids egg laying declines. However, it is unclear whether all essential amino acids have the same impact on phenotypes like fecundity.
Using a holidic diet, we fed adult female Drosophila melanogaster diets that contained all necessary nutrients except one of the 10 essential amino acids and assessed the effects on egg production.
For most essential amino acids, depleting a single amino acid induced as rapid a decline in egg production as when there were no amino acids in the diet. However, when either methionine or histidine were excluded from the diet, egg production declined more slowly.
Next, we tested whether general control non-derepressible 2 (GCN2) and Target of Rapamycin (TOR) mediated this difference in response across amino acids.
While mutations in GCN2 did not eliminate the differences in the rates of decline in egg laying among amino acid drop-out diets, we found that inhibiting TOR signalling caused egg laying to decline rapidly for all drop-out diets. TOR signalling does this by regulating the yolk-forming stages of egg chamber development.
Our results suggest that amino acids differ in their ability to induce signalling via the TOR pathway. This is important because if phenotypes differ in sensitivity to individual amino acids, this generates the potential for mismatches between the output of a pathway and the animal’s true nutritional status.
Alves AN, Sgrò CM, Piper MDW, Mirth CK (2022) Target of rapamycin drives unequal responses to essential amino acid depletion for egg laying in Drosophila melanogaster. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology PDF DOI