Some recent lab journal clubs

It’s been a while since I updated on our regular lab journal clubs (I’ll blame grants and paper writing). So here are a few of the papers we’ve discussed in recent weeks. Although they each tackle a different research question, they highlight the versatility of Drosophila genetics to uncover key mechanisms governing animal physiology – the power and simplicity of the Drosophila genetic toolkit, means that the only major limitations to discovery are our ideas. Each of these papers has some very clever ideas.

Muscle mitohormesis promotes longevity via systemic repression of insulin signaling. Owusu-Ansah E, Song W, Perrimon N. Cell. 2013 Oct 24;155(3):699-712.

A very nice paper showing how limited mitochondrial stress in adult Drosophila muscle can extend lifespan, in part by limiting systemic insulin signaling.


Cell-nonautonomous effects of dFOXO/DAF-16 in aging. Alic N, Tullet JM, Niccoli T, Broughton S, Hoddinott MP, Slack C, Gems D, Partridge L. Cell Rep. 2014 Feb 27;6(4):608-16.

A clever study delineating the differential non-autonmous requirements for FOXO on controlling lifespan and metabolism in adult flies


Sensing of amino acids in a dopaminergic circuitry promotes rejection of an incomplete diet in Drosophila. Bjordal M, Arquier N, Kniazeff J, Pin JP, Léopold P. Cell. 2014 Jan 30;156(3):510-21

A paper that elegantly combines genetics, behavioural measurements and neural imaging to identify a role for the AA-regulate kinase GCN2 in the neuronal and behavioral response to limitation of dietary amino acids


Changes in rRNA transcription influence proliferation and cell fate within a stem cell lineage. Zhang Q, Shalaby NA, Buszczak M. Science. 2014 Jan 17;343(6168):298-301

This paper adds to a growing literature that points to the importance of differential regulation of mRNA translation and protein synthesis in controlling the behaviour of stem cells. The importance of this paper is that it suggests that rRNA synthesis and Pol I function may be an important control point in the regulation of stem cell protein synthesis.