In our last journal club we discussed two very nice papers on sexual dimorphism in Drosophila intestines that controls growth, regeneration and lifespan:
Sex difference in pathology of the ageing gut mediates the greater response of female lifespan to dietary restriction. Regan JC, Khericha M, Dobson AJ, Bolukbasi E, Rattanavirotkul N, Partridge L. Elife. 2016 Feb 16;5. pii: e10956.
In the first paper, Bruno Hudry (from the lab of Irene Miguel Aliaga) showed that female intestines showed both a marked increase in cell proliferation/regeneration in response to damage and in increase propensity to develop tumors. Both these effects were dependent on the sexual identity of the intestinal stem cells, which is controlled by Transformer expression.
The second paper from Jenny Regan described male:female differences in both intestinal pathology in aged guts and response to infection. Interestingly, this paper indicates that these differences are regulated by the sexual identity of the differentiated epithelial cells in the gut, although the differences do involve altered stem cell proliferation.
We liked both papers a lot. Its a topic that we’ve become interested in – our former postdoc, Liz Rideout, recently published a paper on sex differences in insulin signaling and growth in Drosophila, and she’s continuing this work in her own lab at UBC.