In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Monica Dus from the University of Michigan to talk about her work on nutriepigenetics and the effects of diet on behavior.

The focus of Monica Dus and her team is to study the effect of sugar on the brain and how diet has an effect on behavior. The Dus lab takes a multidisciplinary approach to answer questions like "What causes animals to overeat if they consume foods rich in sugar, salt, and fat?" and "How does such a diet alter the basic physiology and biochemistry of the brain to promote food intake and weight gain?" By doing this, they showed recently that the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) plays a role in reprogramming the sensory neurons of Drosophila Melanogaster, reducing sweet sensation and hence promoting obesity when flies are fed a high sugar diet. In response to that diet the binding of PRC2 to chromatin in sweet gustatory neurons is altered and reshapes the developmental transcriptional network.

In this episode we discuss how flies taste food and sugar, how sugar modulates taste, and how a high sugar diet influences the taste and amount of food flies eat.



  • Monica Dus, SooHong Min, … Greg S. B. Suh (2011) Taste-independent detection of the caloric content of sugar in Drosophila (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1017096108

  • Christina E. May, Anoumid Vaziri, … Monica Dus (2019) High Dietary Sugar Reshapes Sweet Taste to Promote Feeding Behavior in Drosophila melanogaster (Cell Reports) DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.027

  • Daniel Wilinski, Jasmine Winzeler, … Monica Dus (2019) Rapid metabolic shifts occur during the transition between hunger and satiety in Drosophila melanogaster (Nature Communications) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11933-z

  • Anoumid Vaziri, Morteza Khabiri, … Monica Dus (2020) Persistent epigenetic reprogramming of sweet taste by diet (Science Advances) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc8492

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