To maintain homeostasis, animals must ingest appropriate quantities, determined by their internal nutritional state, of suitable nutrients. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, an amino acid deficit induces a specific appetite for amino acids and thus results in their increased consumption. Although multiple processes of physiology, metabolism, and behavior are under circadian control in many organisms, it is unclear whether the circadian clock also modulates such motivated behavior driven by an internal need. Differences in levels of amino acid consumption by flies between the light and dark phases of the day:night cycle were examined using a capillary feeder assay following amino acid deprivation. Female flies exhibited increased consumption of amino acids during the dark phase compared with the light phase. Investigation of mutants lacking a functional period gene (per0 ), a well-characterized clock gene in Drosophila, found no difference between the light and dark phases in amino acid consumption by per0 flies. Furthermore, increased consumption of amino acids during the dark phase was observed in mated but not in virgin females, which strongly suggested that mating is involved in the rhythmic modulation of amino acid intake. Egg production, which is induced by mating, did not affect the rhythmic change in amino acid consumption, although egg-laying behavior showed a per0 -dependent change in rhythm. Elevated consumption of amino acids during the dark phase was partly induced by the action of a seminal protein, sex peptide (SP), on the sex peptide receptor (SPR) in females. Moreover, we showed that the increased consumption of amino acids during the dark phase is induced in mated females independently of their internal level of amino acids. These results suggest that a post-mating SP/SPR signal elevates amino acid consumption during the dark phase via the circadian clock.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)