Nutrition is a key determinant of health, wellbeing and aging. We want to understand how animals decide what to eat and how these decisions affect the fitness of the animal. To achieve a mechanistic, integrated, whole-animal understanding of nutritional decision-making we work at the interface of behavior, metabolism and physiology in the adult fruitfly. The powerful neurogenetic tools available in model organisms allow us to identify molecular as well as circuit mechanisms involved in producing the appropriate behavioral response to a specific need of the fly. We also dedicate a significant effort to the development of novel, automated and quantitative behavioral assays to understand the behavioral strategies used by the fly to make the right nutritional decisions. The combination of powerful molecular circuit manipulations, sophisticated behavioral analyses, and imaging approaches allows for a mechanistic understanding of how neuronal circuits control nutritional decisions to regulate important traits such as aging and reproduction.
Behavior and MetabolismRibeiro Lab email@example.com
Molecular and neuronal mechanisms of nutrient choice
How do animals know what type of nutrients they need? What are the molecular and neuronal mechanisms used by the brain to change the behavior of the animal to allow it to find and eat the required nutrients? We are analyzing genes identified as being required for nutrient choice in a neuronal whole-genome RNAi screen. Contemporaneously we have used genetic approaches to identify neuronal populations which are required for the same nutrient choices. The knowledge of molecular and neuronal players will be an entry point for studying neuronal mechanisms of nutrient balancing at the molecular, cellular and circuit levels.
A movie of flies choosing what to eat for lunch. The options are carbohydrate rich food (sucrose) in red and protein rich food (yeast) in blue.
We can easily identify the nutritional decision of the flies by inspecting their abdomen.
Quantitative analysis of feeding behavior in Drosophila
Drosophila has become a powerful model organism in neuroscience research not only due to its molecular genetics toolkit, but also due to the successful development of methods and protocols to monitor and annotate behavior. Feeding and foraging are central elements in a majority of behavioral assays, but their quantification and analysis is a major challenge in the fly. We have developed flyPAD – fly Proboscis and Activity Detector, a method to automatically monitor feeding behavior quantitatively in individual flies. Our method is based on capacitive measurement of a fly’s interaction with the food. The precision of the measurements allows for high fidelity, high temporal resolution, and unbiased measurements of feeding behavior. We demonstrate that flies ingest food by rhythmically extending their proboscis with a frequency that is not modulated by the internal state of the animal. Instead, hunger and satiety homeostatically modulate the microstructure of feeding. These results highlight similarities of food intake regulation between insects, rodents, and humans, pointing to a common strategy in how the nervous systems of different animals control food intake. This method complements our continuing experimental and quantitative modeling approaches to understand how the internal state affects foraging and feeding strategies to achieve nutrient homeostasis.
Kathrin Steck, Samuel J Walker, Pavel M Itskov, Célia Baltazar, José-Maria Moreira, Carlos Ribeiro (2018) Internal amino acid state modulates yeast taste neurons to support protein homeostasis in Drosophila eLife (doi:10.7554/eLife.31625)
Walker SJ, Goldschmidt D, Ribeiro C. (2017) Craving for the future: the brain as a nutritional prediction system. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 23 , 96-103. (doi:10.1016/j.cois.2017.07.013.)
Leitão-Gonçalves R, Carvalho-Santos Z, Francisco AP, Fioreze GT, Anjos M, Baltazar C, Elias AP, Itskov PM, Piper MDW, Ribeiro C (2017) Commensal bacteria and essential amino acids control food choice behavior and reproduction PLoS Biol. 15 (4), e2000862 (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000862)
Piper MD, Soultoukis GA, Blanc E, Mesaros A, Herbert SL, Juricic P, He X, Atanassov I, Salmonowicz H, Yang M, Simpson SJ, Ribeiro C, Partridge L. (2017) Matching Dietary Amino Acid Balance to the In Silico-Translated Exome Optimizes Growth and Reproduction without Cost to Lifespan Cell Metabolism 25 (3), 610-621 (doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2017.02.005)
Carvalho-Santos Z, Ribeiro C (2016) Gonadal ecdysone titers are modulated by protein availability but do not impact protein appetite J Insect Physiol (doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.08.006)
Walker SJ, Corrales-Carvajal VM, Ribeiro C. (2015) Postmating Circuitry Modulates Salt Taste Processing to Increase Reproductive Output in Drosophila. Curr. Biol. 15 (pii: S0960-9822), 01014-3 [Epub ahead of print] (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.043)
Ragnhildur Thóra Káradóttir, Johannes J. Letzkus, Manuel Mameli,Carlos Ribeiro (2015) Your ticket to independence: a guide to getting your first Principal Investigator position Eur J Neurosci. 42 (7), 2372-9 (doi: 10.1111/ejn.13048)
Itskov PM, Moreira JM, Vinnik E, Lopes G, Safarik S, Dickinson MH & Ribeiro C. (2014) Automated monitoring and quantitative analysis of feeding behaviour in Drosophila Nat Commun 5 , 4560 (doi:10.1038/ncomms5560)
Herbert SL, Ribeiro C. (2014) Nutrition: Rejection Is the Fly's Protection Curr. Biol. 24 (7) (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.02.043)
Öst A, Lempradl A, Casas E, Weigert M, Tiko T, Deniz M, Pantano L, Boenisch U, Itskov PM, Stoeckius M, Ruf M, Rajewsky N, Reuter G, Iovino N, Ribeiro C, Alenius M, Heyne S, Vavouri T, Pospisilik JA. (2014) Paternal diet defines offspring chromatin state and intergenerational obesity. Cell 6 (159), 1352-64 (doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.005)
Carlos Ribeiro (2014) Q&A - Carlos Ribeiro Curr. Biol. 24 (13), R586-R588 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.05.053)
Piper, MDW; Blanc, E; Leitão-Goncalves, R; Yang, M; He, X; Linford, NJ; Hoddinott, MP; Hopfen, C; Soultoukis, GA; Niemeyer, C; Kerr, F; Pletcher, SD; Ribeiro, C; Partridge, L; (2013) A holidic medium for Drosophila melanogaster Nat. Methods (doi:10.1038/nmeth.2731)
Itskov PM, Ribeiro C. (2013) The dilemmas of the gourmet fly: the molecular and neuronal mechanisms of feeding and nutrient decision making in Drosophila. Front Neurosci (7), 12 (doi:10.3389/fnins.2013.00012)
Ribeiro C, Dickson BJ (2010) Sex Peptide Receptor and Neuronal TOR/S6K Signaling Modulate Nutrient Balancing in Drosophila. Curr. Biol. 20 (11), 1000-1005 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.03.061)
Yapici N, Kim YJ, Ribeiro C, Dickson BJ. (2009) A receptor that mediates the post-mating switch in Drosophila reproductive behaviour. Nature 451 , 33-7 (doi:10.1038/nature06483)
Jung AC, Ribeiro C, Michaut L, Certa U, Affolter M (2006) Polychaetoid/ZO-1 is required for cell specification and rearrangement during Drosophila tracheal morphogenesis. Curr. Biol. 16 (12), 1224-1231 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2006.04.048)
Keleman K, Ribeiro C, Dickson B (2005) Comm function in commissural axon guidance: cell-autonomous sorting of Robo in vivo. Nat. Neurosci. 8 (2), 156-163 (doi:10.1038/nn1388)
Ribeiro C, Neumann M, Affolter M (2004) Genetic control of cell intercalation during tracheal morphogenesis in Drosophila. Curr. Biol. 14 (24), 2197-2207 (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.11.056)
Jazwinska A, Ribeiro C, Affolter M. (2003) Epithelial tube morphogenesis during Drosophila tracheal development requires Piopio, a luminal ZP protein. Nat. Cell Biol. 5 (10), 895-901 (doi:10.1038/ncb1049)
Ribeiro C, Petit V and Affolter M (2003) Signaling systems, guided cell migration and organogenesis: insights from genetic studies in Drosophila. Dev. Biol. 260 (1), 1-8 (doi:10.1016/S0012-1606(03)00211-2)
Ribeiro C, Ebner A, Affolter M. (2002) In vivo imaging reveals different cellular functions for FGF and Dpp signaling in tracheal branching morphogenesis. Developmental. Dev. Cell 2 , 677-683 (doi:10.1016/S1534-5807(02)00171-5)
Ebner A, Kiefer FN, Ribeiro C, Petit V, Nussbaumer U, Affolter M. (2002) Tracheal development in Drosophila melanogaster as a model system for studying the development of a branched organ. Gene 287 , 55-66 (doi:10.1016/S0378-1119(01)00895-2)
Petit V, Ribeiro C, Ebner A and Affolter M (2002) Regulation of cell migration during tracheal development in Drosophila melanogaster. Int. J. Dev. Biol. 46 , 125-132
Marty T, Vigano MA, Ribeiro C, Nussbaumer U, Grieder NC and Affolter M (2001) A HOX complex, a repressor element and a 50 bp sequence confer regional specificity to a DPP-responsive enhancer. Development 128 , 2833-2845