Steroid signaling establishes a female metabolic state and regulates SREBP to control oocyte lipid accumulation

Matthew H. Sieber, Allan C. Spradling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Summary Disruptions in energy homeostasis severely affect reproduction in many organisms and are linked to several reproductive disorders in humans. As a result, understanding the mechanisms that control nutrient accumulation in the oocyte will provide valuable insights into the links between metabolic disease and reproductive dysfunction. We show that the steroid hormone ecdysone functions in Drosophila to control lipid metabolism and support oocyte production. First, local EcR-mediated signaling induces a stage-specific accumulation of lipids in stage-10 oocytes. EcR induces lipid accumulation by promoting the activation of the lipogenic transcription factor SREBP and by controlling the expression of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor homolog, LpR2. Second, global signaling via the ecdysone receptor, EcR, establishes a female metabolic state and promotes whole-body triglyceride and glycogen storage at high levels. EcR acts in the CNS to mediate these effects, in part by promoting higher levels of feeding in females. Thus, ecdysone functions at two levels to support reproduction: first by inducing lipid accumulation in the late stages of oocyte development and second by providing a signal that coordinates lipid metabolism in the germline with whole-animal lipid homeostasis. Ecdysone regulation allows females to assess the demands of oogenesis and alter their behavior and metabolic state to support the biosynthetic requirements of oocyte production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11826
Pages (from-to)993-1004
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 20 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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