The Nutritional Environment Influences the Impact of Microbes on Drosophila melanogaster Life Span.

Affiliation

Department of Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, Florida, USA [Email]

Abstract

Microbes can extend Drosophila melanogaster life span by contributing to the nutritional value of malnourishing fly culture medium. The beneficial effect of microbes during malnutrition is dependent on their individual ability to proliferate in the fly environment and is mimicked by lifelong supplementation of equivalent levels of heat-killed microbes or dietary protein, suggesting that microbes can serve directly as a protein-rich food source. Here, we use nutritionally rich fly culture medium to demonstrate how changes in dietary composition influence monocolonized fly life span; microbes that extend fly life span on malnourishing diets can shorten life on rich diets. The mechanisms employed by microbes to affect host health likely differ on low- or high-nutrient diets. Our results demonstrate how Drosophila-associated microbes can positively or negatively influence fly life span depending on the nutritional environment. Although controlled laboratory environments allow focused investigations on the interaction between fly microbiota and nutrition, the relevance of these studies is not straightforward, because it is difficult to mimic the nutritional ecology of natural Drosophila-microbe interactions. As such, caution is needed in designing and interpreting fly-microbe experiments and before categorizing microbes into specific symbiotic roles based on results obtained from experiments testing limited conditions.IMPORTANCED. melanogaster ingests microorganisms growing within its rotting vegetation diet. Some of these microbes form associations with flies, while others pass through the gut with meals. Fly-microbe-diet interactions are dynamic, and changes to the fly culture medium can influence microbial growth in the overall environment. In turn, these alterations in microbial growth may not only impact the nutritional value of fly meals but also modulate behavior and health, at least in part due to direct contributions to fly nutrition. The interactive ecology between flies, microbes, and their environment can cause a specific microbe to be either beneficial or detrimental to fly life span, indicating that the environment should be considered a key influential factor in host-microbe interactions.

Keywords

Drosophila,bacteria,life span,microbiota,nutrition,nutritional environment,yeast,

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