Zúñiga-Hernández JM et al.
Nutrient scarcity is a frequent adverse condition that organisms face during their development. This condition may lead to long-lasting effects on the metabolism and behaviour of adults due to developmental epigenetic modifications. Here, we show that reducing nutrient availability during larval development affects adult spontaneous activity and sleep behaviour, together with changes in gene expression and epigenetic marks in the mushroom bodies (MBs). We found that open chromatin regions map to 100 of 241 transcriptionally upregulated genes in the adult MBs, these new opening zones are preferentially located in regulatory zones such as promoter-TSS and introns. Importantly, opened chromatin at the Dopamine 1-like receptor 2 regulatory zones correlate with increased expression. In consequence, adult administration of a dopamine antagonist reverses increased spontaneous activity and diminished sleep time observed in response to early-life nutrient restriction. In comparison, reducing dop1R2 expression in MBs also ameliorates these effects, albeit to a lesser degree. These results lead to the conclusion that increased dopamine signalling in the MBs of flies reared in a poor nutritional environment underlies the behavioural changes observed due to this condition during development.