This weeks lab journal club: nutrient and neuronal contol of tracheal branching

In a recent lab journal club, we discussed a recent paper from the Miguel-Aliaga lab:

Neuronal Control of Metabolism through Nutrient-Dependent Modulation of Tracheal Branching, 2014, Cell, 156, 69.

In this paper, the Miguel-Aliaga group show that nutrient rich conditions promote tracheal branching in the larval, especially the gut, whereas upon starvation this branching is reduced . This control of branching relies on both systemic insulin signaling and also local signaling to trachea via VIP- and insulin-secreting neurons, whose activity is regulated by dietary nutrients. Moreover, the starvation effects on branching could mimicked by genetically inhibiting the insulin/PI3K pathway in tracheal termini (we wondered whether cell-autonomous overexpression of insulin/PI3K signaling could also promote branching, especially in starved animals)

We really liked this paper: Another great example of how the simplicity and versatility of fly genetics can be used to unravel important cell-to-cell and tissue-to-tissue signaling mechanisms that govern whole animal physiology.