Adaptation of organisms to ever-changing nutritional environments relies on sensor tissues and systemic signals. Identification of these signals would help understand the physiological crosstalk between organs contributing to growth and metabolic homeostasis. Here we show that Eiger, the Drosophila TNF-α, is a metabolic hormone that mediates nutrient response by remotely acting on insulin-producing cells (IPCs). In the condition of nutrient shortage, a metalloprotease of the TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE) family is active in fat body (adipose-like) cells, allowing the cleavage and release of adipose Eiger in the hemolymph. In the brain IPCs, Eiger activates its receptor Grindelwald, leading to JNK-dependent inhibition of insulin production. Therefore, we have identified a humoral connexion between the fat body and the brain insulin-producing cells relying on TNF-α that mediates adaptive response to nutrient deprivation.