Like mammals, flies have a blood brain barrier (bbb). Its role is to insulate the brain from the circulating fluid. The bbb is very similar between flies and mammals. Its most prominent feature are very tight cell connections that account for the barrier function. While this barrier is very important for protection, it also forms a formidable obstacle for circulating factors and neuroendocrine regulators that interact with the brain to regulate its function.
So, how do secreted fat body factors like Takeout communicate with the brain? We are exploring this question by looking at the blood brain barrier. We have found that the bbb contains sex-specific molecules that are required for normal function. We are currently studying candidate molecules that might be involved in the communication through the bbb.