Nature communications

Taotie neurons regulate appetite in Drosophila.

PMID 27924813


The brain has an essential role in maintaining a balance between energy intake and expenditure of the body. Deciphering the processes underlying the decision-making for timely feeding of appropriate amounts may improve our understanding of physiological and psychological disorders related to feeding control. Here, we identify a group of appetite-enhancing neurons in a behavioural screen for flies with increased appetite. Manipulating the activity of these neurons, which we name Taotie neurons, induces bidirectional changes in feeding motivation. Long-term stimulation of Taotie neurons results in flies with highly obese phenotypes. Furthermore, we show that the in vivo activity of Taotie neurons in the neuroendocrine region reflects the hunger/satiety states of un-manipulated animals, and that appetitive-enhancing Taotie neurons control the secretion of insulin, a known regulator of feeding behaviour. Thus, our study reveals a new set of neurons regulating feeding behaviour in the high brain regions that represents physiological hunger states and control feeding behaviour in Drosophila.