Physiology, Development, and Disease Modeling in the Drosophila Excretory System.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

The insect excretory system contains two organ systems acting in concert: the Malpighian tubules and the hindgut perform essential roles in excretion and ionic and osmotic homeostasis. For over 350 years, these two organs have fascinated biologists as a model of organ structure and function. As part of a recent surge in interest, research on the Malpighian tubules and hindgut of Drosophila have uncovered important paradigms of organ physiology and development. Further, many human disease processes can be modeled in these organs. Here, focusing on discoveries in the past 10 years, we provide an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the Drosophila excretory system. We describe the major developmental events that build these organs during embryogenesis, remodel them during metamorphosis, and repair them following injury. Finally, we highlight the use of the Malpighian tubules and hindgut as accessible models of human disease biology. The Malpighian tubule is a particularly excellent model to study rapid fluid transport, neuroendocrine control of renal function, and modeling of numerous human renal conditions such as kidney stones, while the hindgut provides an outstanding model for processes such as the role of cell chirality in development, nonstem cell-based injury repair, cancer-promoting processes, and communication between the intestine and nervous system.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cohen, E; Sawyer, JK; Peterson, NG; Dow, JAT; Fox, DT

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 214 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 235 - 264

PubMed ID

  • 32029579

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7017010

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-2631

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1534/genetics.119.302289


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States