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 Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>