Nichole Broderick, Bruno Lemaitre
There is growing interest in using Drosophila melanogaster to elucidate mechanisms that underlie the complex relationships between a host and its microbiota. In addition to the many genetic resources and tools Drosophila provides, its associated microbiota is relatively simple (1-30 taxa), in contrast to the complex diversity associated with vertebrates (> 500 taxa). These attributes highlight the potential of this system to dissect the complex cellular and molecular interactions that occur between a host and its microbiota. In this review, we summarize what is known regarding the composition of gut-associated microbes of Drosophila and their impact on host physiology. We also discuss these interactions in the context of their natural history and ecology and describe some recent insights into mechanisms by which Drosophila and its gut microbiota interact. "Workers with Drosophila have been considered fortunate in that they deal with the first multicellular invertebrate to be cultured monoxenically (Delcourt and Guyenot, 1910); the first to be handled axenically on a semisynthetic diet (Guyenot, 1917); and the first to be grown on a defined diet (Schultz et al., 1946). This list of advantages is somewhat embarrassing, since it implies an interest in nutrition that, in reality, was only secondary. The very first studies were concerned with the reduction of variability in genetic experiments (Delcourt and Guyenot, 1910) and standardization of the nutritional environment." -James Sang, 1959 Ann NY Acad ( 1).