Survival of the fittest means having enough food for growth and physical development. Information about an organism’s state of nutrition is passed to the central nervous system (CNS) from organs such as the gut, liver and adipose [fat] tissue. Chemical messages help to establish communication between the different organs but, when communication fails, conditions like obesity and diabetes can occur. By looking at the adipose tissue of baby fruit flies, researchers saw that a molecule called CCaH2 has an important role in growth and metabolism, as it signals to cells in the brain to produce insulin-like proteins. Receptors for CCaH2 were found in the CNS – seen as a brighter green glow in the fly brains pictured. Disrupting CCaH2 and its receptor led to developmental defects in the flies, showing that this pathway is crucial for regulating the coordination of growth with ever-changing nutritional conditions.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.