loading page

old version
  • christinedamrau,
  • Julien Colomb,
  • Björn Brembs
Author Profile
Julien Colomb
Freie Universität Berlin

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Björn Brembs
Universität Regensburg
Author Profile


All animals constantly negotiate external with internal demands before and during action selection. Energy homeostasis is a major internal factor biasing action selection. For instance, in addition to physiologically regulating carbohydrate mobilization, starvation-induced sugar shortage also biases action selection towards food-seeking and food consumption behaviors (the counter-regulatory response). Biogenic amines are often involved when such widespread behavioral biases need to be orchestrated. In mammals, norepinephrine (noradrenalin) is involved in the counterregulatory response to starvation-induced drops in glucose levels. The invertebrate homologue of noradrenalin, octopamine (OA) and its precursor tyramine (TA) are neuromodulators operating in many different neuronal and physiological processes. We investigated the role of those two transmitters in Drosophila sugar responsiveness. Tyrosine-ß-hydroxylase (tßh) mutants are unable to convert TA into OA. Starved mutants show a reduced sugar response and their hemolymph sugar concentration is elevated compared to control flies. When starved, they survive longer. Temporally controlled rescue experiments revealed an action of the OA/TA-system during the sugar response, while spatially controlled rescue experiments suggest actions also outside of the nervous system. Additionally, the analysis of two OA- and four TA-receptor mutants suggests an involvement of both receptor types in the animals' physiological and neuronal response to starvation. These results complement the investigations in Apis mellifera described in our companion paper (Buckemüller et al.).