Lipophorin receptors regulate mushroom body development and complex behaviors in Drosophila
Background Drosophila melanogaster lipophorin receptors (LpRs), LpR1 and LpR2, are members of the LDLR family known to mediate lipid uptake in a range of organisms from Drosophila to humans. The vertebrate orthologs of LpRs, ApoER2 and VLDL-R, function as receptors of a glycoprotein involved in development of the central nervous system, Reelin, which is not present in flies. ApoER2 and VLDL-R are associated with the development and function of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, important association areas in the mammalian brain, as well as with neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders linked to those regions. It is currently unknown whether LpRs play similar roles in the Drosophila brain. Results We report that LpR-deficient flies exhibit impaired olfactory memory and sleep patterns, which seem to reflect anatomical defects found in a critical brain association area, the mushroom bodies (MB). Moreover, cultured MB neurons respond to mammalian Reelin by increasing the complexity of their neurite arborization. This effect depends on LpRs and Dab, the Drosophila ortholog of the Reelin signaling adaptor protein Dab1. In vitro, two of the long isoforms of LpRs allow the internalization of Reelin, suggesting that Drosophila LpRs interact with human Reelin to induce downstream cellular events. Conclusions These findings demonstrate that LpRs contribute to MB development and function, supporting the existence of a LpR-dependent signaling in Drosophila, and advance our understanding of the molecular factors functioning in neural systems to generate complex behaviors in this model. Our results further emphasize the importance of Drosophila as a model to investigate the alterations in specific genes contributing to neural disorders.
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