Work in our lab has shown that male factors produced by the head fat body is required for normal male courtship. The fat body is a secretory tissue that surrounds the brain. It has many functions and is often compared to the human liver.
We have shown that courtship is severely compromised when the male-specific factors from the fat body are missing. We have identified a male-specific fat body factor (that is called Takeout) and shown that it is important for courtship.
We have shown that Takeout is secreted into the circulating system of the fly and acts as a secreted protein. Intriguingly, Takeout is most closely related to Juvenile Hormone Binding proteins from other insects. Takeout is also the founding member of a large gene family that is conserved through evolution.
Ongoing projects examine the way Takeout may function using an evolutionary and biochemical approach. We are also examining the Juvenile Hormone – Takeout connection and whether Juvenile Hormone is involved in the regulation of mating behavior.