Insulin signaling acts in adult adipocytes via GSK-3β and independently of FOXO to control Drosophila female germline stem cell numbers

Alissa R. Armstrong, Daniela Drummond Barbosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Tissue-specific stem cells are tied to the nutritional and physiological environment of adult organisms. Adipocytes have key endocrine and nutrient-sensing roles and have emerged as major players in relaying dietary information to regulate other organs. For example, previous studies in Drosophila melanogaster revealed that amino acid sensing as well as diet-dependent metabolic pathways function in adipocytes to influence the maintenance of female germline stem cells (GSCs). How nutrient-sensing pathways acting within adipocytes influence adult stem cell lineages, however, is just beginning to be elucidated. Here, we report that insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling in adipocytes promotes GSC maintenance, early germline cyst survival, and vitellogenesis. Further, adipocytes use distinct mechanisms downstream of insulin receptor activation to control these aspects of oogenesis, all of which are independent of FOXO. We find that GSC maintenance is modulated by Akt1 through GSK-3β early germline cyst survival is downstream of adipocyte Akt1 but independent of GSK-3β and vitellogenesis is regulated through an Akt1-independent pathway in adipocytes. These results indicate that, in addition to employing different types of nutrient sensing, adipocytes can use distinct axes of a single nutrient-sensing pathway to regulate multiple stages of the GSC lineage in the ovary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Adipocytes
  • Drosophila
  • Germline stem cells
  • GSK-3β
  • Insulin signaling
  • Oogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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