U bodies respond to nutrient stress in Drosophila. MICKEY BUCKINGHAM, JI-LONG LIU. MRC Functional Genomics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

   The neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutation of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. Cytoplasmic SMN protein-containing granules, known as U snRNP bodies (U bodies), are thought to be responsible for the assembly and storage of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) which are essential for pre-mRNA splicing. U bodies exhibit close association with cytoplasmic processing bodies (P bodies), which are involved in mRNA decay and translational repression. The close association of the U body and P body in Drosophila resemble that of the stress granule and P body in yeast and mammalian cells. However, it is unknown whether the U body is responsive to any stress. Using Drosophila oogenesis as a model, this study compares the morphology of U bodies and the U body-P body interaction between well-fed and starved Drosophila. Here we show that U bodies increase in size following nutritional deprivation. Despite nutritional stress, U bodies maintain their close association with P bodies. Our results show that U bodies are responsive to nutrition changes, presumably through the U body-P body pathway.