Epithelial Function in the Drosophila Malpighian Tubule: An In Vivo Renal Model

  • Shireen-A. DaviesEmail author
  • Pablo Cabrero
  • Richard Marley
  • Guillermo Martinez Corrales
  • Saurav Ghimire
  • Anthony J. Dornan
  • Julian A. T. DowEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1926)


The insect renal (Malpighian) tubule has long been a model system for the study of fluid secretion and its neurohormonal control, as well as studies on ion transport mechanisms. To extend these studies beyond the boundaries of classical physiology, a molecular genetic approach together with the ‘omics technologies is required. To achieve this in any vertebrate transporting epithelium remains a daunting task, as the genetic tools available are still relatively unsophisticated. Drosophila melanogaster, however, is an outstanding model organism for molecular genetics. Here we describe a technique for fluid secretion assays in the D. melanogaster equivalent of the kidney nephron. The development of this first physiological assay for a Drosophila epithelium, allowing combined approaches of integrative physiology and functional genomics, has now provided biologists with an entirely new model system, the Drosophila Malpighian tubule, which is utilized in multiple fields as diverse as kidney disease research and development of new modes of pest insect control.

Key words

Drosophila melanogaster Epithelia Renal Malpighian tubules Fluid secretion assays Kidney disease model Functional genomics 



Extensive support by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK to the corresponding authors has been instrumental in developing the new fields of D. melanogaster integrative physiology and functional genomics.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shireen-A. Davies
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pablo Cabrero
    • 1
  • Richard Marley
    • 1
  • Guillermo Martinez Corrales
    • 1
  • Saurav Ghimire
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Dornan
    • 1
  • Julian A. T. Dow
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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