A Receptor and Neuron that Activate a Circuit Limiting Sucrose Consumption


The neural control of sugar consumption is critical for normal metabolism. In contrast to sugar-sensing taste neurons that promote consumption, we identify a taste neuron that limits sucrose consumption in Drosophila. Silencing of the neuron increases sucrose feeding; optogenetic activation decreases it. The feeding inhibition depends on the IR60b receptor, as shown by behavioral analysis and Ca2+ imaging of an IR60b mutant. The IR60b phenotype shows a high degree of chemical specificity when tested with a broad panel of tastants. An automated analysis of feeding behavior in freely moving flies shows that IR60b limits the duration of individual feeding bouts. This receptor and neuron provide the molecular and cellular underpinnings of a new element in the circuit logic of feeding regulation. We propose a dynamic model in which sucrose acts via IR60b to activate a circuit that inhibits feeding and prevents overconsumption.

In eLife