Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘Drosophila’

Understanding cardiomyopathy through drosophila

Courtney Petersen presented her research at the 6th annual Greater Washington DC Area Physiological Society conference today. This research was conducted with Dr. Matthew Wolf at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and Dr. Jeremy Smyth at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. Courtney’s research was focused on cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of the heart’s muscle that can make it harder for the heart to pump blood […]

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Adults are better adapted to survive without oxygen

Adult fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are more tolerant of environments devoid of oxygen than their larvae. In fact, they are able to survive up to 12 hours without oxygen by becoming paralyzed, which enables them to dramatically reduce metabolism and the need for oxygen. In contrast, Drosophila larvae expend a lot of energy trying to escape and are only able to tolerate a couple of hours without oxygen. This is surprising […]

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Dealing with the cold

Cold-tolerant insects have developed several strategies for dealing with cold temperatures. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored how spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), in particular, adapted physiologically to cold exposure. They discovered that animals adapted to living in the cold had altered the structure of their cellular membranes in ways that kept the membrane fluid and prevented it from becoming rigid. Moreover, […]

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If only I were a fruit fly…

  Oh, to be a Drosophila. A new study published in Science Advances reports that male Drosophila have an amazing tolerance for sleep deprivation. I wish I could say the same about humans. Like people, sleep duration in flies varies between individuals, with some animals getting only a few minutes of sleep a day. In many other species, chronic sleep deprivation is associated with shorter lifespans. In this new study, researchers […]

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Hypoxia and anoxia and reoxygenation, Oh my!

There are many examples of animals that can naturally tolerate hypoxic and anoxic conditions without exhibiting pathologies associated with reoxygenation. Here are a few examples from this year’s conference: Dr. Anthony Signore (University of Nebraska) spoke about how some hypoxia tolerant animals can use carbon monoxide, you know that gas we think of as poisonous, to improve oxygen binding to hemoglobin in hypoxic conditions. Well known for their ability to […]

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Environmental impact on physiology

Several of the comparative physiology posters and talks presented at the Experimental Biology conference today focused on the impact of environmental changes on the physiology of animals. Here are some highlights: Rachel Heuer, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami working with Dr. Martin Grosell, examined the effects of crude oil on heart function in mahi-mahi. As the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred when these fish were spawning, it is […]

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Could research on fruit flies improve human sleep?

A new study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s in collaboration with Kyoto University has provided evidence that drosophila and mammals have similar proteins in their brain that help regulate the rhythm of body temperatures that are important in normal metabolism as well as sleep. According to a quote from Dr. Fumika Hamada, a lead study author, “We’re looking for a mechanistic understanding of how body temperature rhythms are regulated. […]

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