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Drosophila is a genus of two-winged flies commonly known as fruit flies that are used in evolutionary and developmental studies. D. melanogaster is an important model organism for the study of genetics and development.
In the Drosophila embryo, increased cortical contractility in ventral cells causes furrow formation and gastrulation. Here, the authors show that contractility is regulated by Neuralized (an E3 ubiquitin ligase) in ventral cells, and that inhibiting this process with Bearded in the ectoderm causes furrow invagination.
The diet consumed during development can have long-lasting effects on adult physiology. Here, the authors show that developmental undernutrition in Drosophila extends lifespan by inhibiting the production of toxic lipids, called autotoxins, on the adult body surface.
In the Drosophila ovary, it is unclear how signalling from the stem cell niche regulates follicle precursor cell fate/differentiation. Here, the authors use quantitative microscopy to define the role of Wnt, Hedgehog and Notch signalling in progenitor cells, showing regulation of cell fate and differentiation.
Mitochondrial fission and fusion are important mechanisms to maintain mitochondrial function. Here, the authors report that middle-aged flies have more elongated, or ‘hyper-fused’ mitochondria, and show that induction of mitochondrial fission in midlife, but not in early life, extends the health and life of flies.
Haemocytes in Drosophila melanogaster facilitate antiviral immunity by amplifying and systemically disseminating RNA interference-mediated responses via exosome-like vesicles. Moreover, they allow for immune memory, akin to adaptive immune responses in mammals.