Mitochondria are cellular organelles that perform critical metabolic functions: they generate energy from nutrients but also provide metabolites for de novo synthesis of fatty acids and several amino acids. Thus mitochondrial mass and activity must be coordinated with nutrient availability, yet this remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila larvae grown in low yeast food have strong defects in mitochondrial abundance and respiration activity in the larval fat body. This correlates with reduced expression of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins, particularly genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Second, genes involved in glutamine metabolism are also expressed in a nutrient-dependent manner, suggesting a coordination of amino acid synthesis with mitochondrial abundance and activity. Moreover, we show that Delg (CG6338), the Drosophila homologue to the alpha subunit of mammalian transcription factor NRF-2/GABP, is required for proper expression of most genes encoding mitochondrial proteins. Our data demonstrate that Delg is critical to adjust mitochondrial abundance in respect to Cyclin D/Cdk4, a growth-promoting complex and glutamine metabolism according to nutrient availability. However, in contrast to nutrients, Delg is not involved in the regulation of mitochondrial activity in the fat body. These findings are the first genetic evidence that the regulation of mitochondrial mass can be uncoupled from mitochondrial activity. © 2009 Baltzer et al.
Baltzer, C., Tiefenböck, S. K., Marti, M., & Frei, C. (2009). Nutrition controls mitochondrial biogenesis in the Drosophila adipose tissue through Delg and cyclin D/Cdk4. PLoS ONE, 4(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0006935