PloS one

Specialized Cortex Glial Cells Accumulate Lipid Droplets in Drosophila melanogaster.

PMID 26148013


Lipid droplets (LDs) are common organelles of the majority of eukaryotic cell types. Their biological significance has been extensively studied in mammalian liver cells and white adipose tissue. Although the central nervous system contains the highest relative amount and the largest number of different lipid species, neither the spatial nor the temporal distribution of LDs has been described. In this study, we used the brain of the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate the neuroanatomy of LDs. We demonstrated that LDs are exclusively localised in glial cells but not in neurons in the larval nervous system. We showed that the brain's LD pool, rather than being constant, changes dynamically during development and reaches its highest value at the beginning of metamorphosis. LDs are particularly enriched in cortex glial cells located close to the brain surface. These specialized superficial cortex glial cells contain the highest amount of LDs among glial cell types and encapsulate neuroblasts and their daughter cells. Superficial cortex glial cells, combined with subperineurial glial cells, express the Drosophila fatty acid binding protein (Dfabp), as we have demonstrated through light- and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry. To the best of our best knowledge this is the first study that describes LD neuroanatomy in the Drosophila larval brain.