In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, mono-allelic expression of AMPK-α, -β, and -γ yields a single heterotrimeric energy sensor that regulates cellular and whole-body energetic homeostasis. The genetic simplicity of Drosophila, with only a single gene for each subunit, makes the fruit fly an appealing organism for elucidating the effects of AMPK mutations on signaling pathways and phenotypes. In addition, Drosophila presents researchers with an opportunity to use straightforward genetic approaches to elucidate metabolic signaling pathways that contain a level of complexity similar to that observed in mammalian pathways. Just as in mammals, however, the regulatory realm of AMPK function extends beyond metabolic rates and lipid metabolism. Indeed, experiments using Drosophila have shown that AMPK may exert protective effects with regard to life span and neurodegeneration. This chapter addresses a few of the research areas in which Drosophila has been used to elucidate the physiological functions of AMPK. In doing so, this chapter provides a primer for basic Drosophila nomenclature, thereby eliminating a communication barrier that persists for AMPK researchers trained in mammalian genetics.
- Drosophila melanogaster
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