Physiological Adaptations to Sugar Intake: New Paradigms from Drosophila melanogaster

Sugars are important energy sources, but high sugar intake poses a metabolic challenge and leads to diseases. Drosophila melanogaster is a generalist fruit breeder that encounters high levels of dietary sugars in its natural habitat. Consequently, Drosophila displays adaptive responses to dietary sugars, including highly conserved and unique metabolic adaptations not described in mammals. Carbohydrate homeostasis is maintained by a network comprising intracellular energy sensors, transcriptional regulators, and hormonal and neuronal mechanisms that together coordinate animal behavior, gut function, and metabolic flux. Here we give an overview of the physiological responses associated with sugar intake and discuss some of the emerging themes and applications of the Drosophila model in understanding sugar sensing and carbohydrate metabolism.


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