Impaired ethanol metabolism can lead to various alcohol-related health problems. Key enzymes in ethanol metabolism are alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH); however, neuroendocrine pathways that regulate the activities of these enzymes are largely unexplored. Here we identified a neuroendocrine system involving Corazonin (Crz) neuropeptide and its receptor (CrzR) as important physiological regulators of ethanol metabolism in Drosophila. Crz-cell deficient (Crz-CD) flies displayed significantly delayed recovery from ethanol-induced sedation that we refer to as hangover-like phenotype. Newly generated mutant lacking Crz Receptor (CrzR01) and CrzR-knockdown flies showed even more severe hangover-like phenotype, which is causally associated with fast accumulation of acetaldehyde in the CrzR01 mutant following ethanol exposure. Higher levels of acetaldehyde are likely due to 30% reduced ALDH activity in the mutants. Moreover, increased ADH activity was found in the CrzR01 mutant, but not in the Crz-CD flies. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed transcriptional upregulation of Adh gene in the CrzR01. Transgenic inhibition of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) also results in significantly increased ADH activity and AdhmRNA levels, indicating PKA-dependent transcriptional regulation of Adh by CrzR. Furthermore, inhibition of PKA or cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) in CrzR cells leads to comparable hangover-like phenotype to the CrzR01 mutant. These findings suggest that CrzR-associated signaling pathway is critical for ethanol detoxification via Crz-dependent regulation of ALDH activity and Crz-independent transcriptional regulation of ADH. Our study provides new insights into the neuroendocrine-associated ethanol-related behavior and metabolism.
Sha K, Choi S-H, Im J, Lee GG, Loeffler F, Park JH (2014) Regulation of Ethanol-Related Behavior and Ethanol Metabolism by the Corazonin Neurons and Corazonin Receptor in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE 9(1): e87062. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087062