Organisms keep energy reserves in the form of fats that are often stored in specialized fat tissues. Excessive fat storage in humans that may lead to obesity depends on an individual?s genetic background. Unfortunately, we know little about the genes that control fat metabolism and how they interact. This project will use the unique toolbox of fruit fly genetics to study a gene that is a central regulator of fat metabolism. Studies of this gene in mammals (such as humans and mice) are complicated by the presence of three closely related gene copies, whereas flies have only one copy. The project will generate mutant versions of the gene to study how it controls fat metabolism, and it will study how the gene itself is regulated in response to food intake. Results will improve our knowledge of pathways that regulate fat metabolism and storage. Since fundamental metabolic processes are very similar in insects and mammals, the results are likely to also lead to an improved knowledge of the genetic control of fat metabolism in humans. This is of importance because obesity in humans increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The project will be carried out mostly by graduate and undergraduate students and, thus, contribute to the education of our next generation of scientists and innovators.