Insulin signalling regulates remating in female drosophila

Stuart Wigby*, Cathy Slack, Sebastian Grönke, Pedro Martinez, Federico C.F. Calboli, Tracey Chapman, Linda Partridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mating rate is a major determinant of female lifespan and fitness, and is predicted to optimize at an intermediate level, beyond which superfluous matings are costly. In female Drosophila melanogaster, nutrition is a key regulator of mating rate but the underlying mechanism is unknown. The evolutionarily conserved insulin/insulin-like growth factor-like signalling (IIS) pathway is responsive to nutrition, and regulates development, metabolism, stress resistance, fecundity and lifespan. Here we show that inhibition of IIS, by ablation of Drosophila insulin-like peptide (DILP)-producing median neurosecretory cells, knockout of dilp2, dilp3 or dilp5 genes, expression of a dominant-negative DILP-receptor (InR) transgene or knockout of Lnk, results in reduced female remating rates. IIS-mediated regulation of female remating can occur independent of virgin receptivity, developmental defects, reduced body size or fecundity, and the receipt of the female receptivity-inhibiting male sex peptide. Our results provide a likely mechanism by which females match remating rates to the perceived nutritional environment. The findings suggest that longevity-mediating genes could often have pleiotropic effects on remating rate. However, overexpression of the IIS-regulated transcription factor dFOXO in the fat body-which extends lifespan- does not affect remating rate. Thus, long life and reduced remating are not obligatorily coupled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
JournalProceeding of the Royal Society: Series B
Issue number1704
Early online date22 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

This journal is © 2010 The Royal Society This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • drosophila melanogaster
  • fitness
  • mating and reproduction
  • nutrition
  • sexual selection
  • trade-off


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