Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fruit flies use olfactory cues to detect healthy antioxidants in their food

27.01.2015

Antioxidants are natural food ingredients that protect cells from harmful influences. Their main task is to neutralize so-called “free radicals” which are produced in the process of oxidation and which are responsible for cell degeneration. 

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and the University of Lund, Sweden, now show that vinegar flies are able to detect these protective substances by using olfactory cues. Odors that are exclusively derived from antioxidants attract flies, increase feeding behavior and trigger oviposition in female flies.


Hany Dweck is stimulating olfactory sensory neurons in fruit flies with different odors using the single sensillum recording (SSR) technique.

Anna Schroll


Vinegar flies (Drosophila melanogaster) on an overripe cherry

Anna Schroll

Hydroxycinnamic acids are secondary plant metabolites and important dietary antioxidants. For animals as well as humans, antioxidants are essential components of a healthy diet, because they protect the cells and boost the immune system. Notably, they prevent the emergence of too many free radicals, mostly oxygen compounds, and therefore a metabolic condition, which is generally called oxidative stress. If an organism suffers from oxidative stress, free radicals attack its cells and weaken its immune system. In fruit flies, oxidative stress is induced by immune responses to toxins produced by pathogens in the food.

Hydroxycinnamic acids are found in high amounts in fruit. Since fruit is the preferred breeding substrate of fruit flies, scientists in the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, took a closer look at these substances and their possible effect on the flies.

Fruit flies are not able to smell hydroxycinnamic acids directly. However, yeasts metabolize the antioxidants and produce ethylphenols. These volatile substances activate targeted olfactory neurons housed on the maxillary palps of the fruit flies, which express the odorant receptor Or71a. Interestingly, fly larvae which are also attracted by yeasts enriched with hydroxycinnamic acids using ethylphenols as olfactory cues, employ another odorant receptor for binding ethylphenols: Or94b, which is exclusively found in larvae, and which is co-expressed with Or94a, a receptor binding a general yeast odor.

Because flies cannot smell the antioxidants directly, ethylphenols provide reliable cues for the presence of these protective compounds in the food. The perception of these odorant signals has a direct impact of the flies’ behavior: They are attracted by the odor sources, show increased feeding behavior and choose oviposition sites where ethylphenols indicate that antioxidants are present in the breeding substrate.

"This form of olfactory proxy detection is not only a phenomenon in insects. It has also been shown in humans, that odors that we perceive as pleasant or appetizing, are in fact derived from important and healthy nutrients, such as essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins," Marcus Stensmyr explains. The scientist, who carried out the studies in the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology together with his colleagues, has recently moved to a position as senior lecturer at the University of Lund.

These findings demonstrate a further example of an individual neuronal pathway, which has a profound effect on the flies: from the odorant signal to olfactory neurons and dedicated odorant receptors to behavior (see also our press release "A Direct Line through the Brain to Avoid Rotten Food – A Full STOP Signal for Drosophila − Odor activation of a dedicated neural pathway by geosmin, an odor produced by toxic microorganisms, activates a hard-wired avoidance response in the fly": http://www.ice.mpg.de/ext/971.html, December 7, 2012).

The ethylphenol pathway as an olfactory proxy detection of dietary antioxidants shows yet another facet of the complex odor-guided behavior in fruit flies. The scientists will now try to identify further neural pathways involved in the detection of essential nutrients, which ultimately trigger the flies’ behavior. [AO]

Original Publication:
Dweck, H., Ebrahim, S. A. M., Farhan, A., Hansson, B. S., Stensmyr, M. C. (2015). Olfactory proxy detection of dietary antioxidants in Drosophila. Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.062
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.062

Further Information:
Prof. Dr. Bill S. Hansson, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, hansson@ice.mpg.de
Dr. Marcus C. Stensmyr, Department of Biology, Lund University, marcus.stensmyr@biol.lu.se

Kontakt und Bildanfragen
Angela Overmeyer M.A., Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie, Hans-Knöll-Str. 8, 07743 Jena, +49 3641 57-2110, E-Mail overmeyer@ice.mpg.de

Download von hochaufgelösten Fotos über http://www.ice.mpg.de/ext/735.html

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ice.mpg.de/ext/1183.html

Angela Overmeyer | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>