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Science 315 (5815): 1133-1137

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Regulation of Drosophila Life Span by Olfaction and Food-Derived Odors

Sergiy Libert,1,2 Jessica Zwiener,1 Xiaowen Chu,1 Wayne VanVoorhies,3 Gregg Roman,4 Scott D. Pletcher1,2,5*

Abstract: Smell is an ancient sensory system present in organisms from bacteria to humans. In the nematode Caeonorhabditis elegans, gustatory and olfactory neurons regulate aging and longevity. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, we showed that exposure to nutrient-derived odorants can modulate life span and partially reverse the longevity-extending effects of dietary restriction. Furthermore, mutation of odorant receptor Or83b resulted in severe olfactory defects, altered adult metabolism, enhanced stress resistance, and extended life span. Our findings indicate that olfaction affects adult physiology and aging in Drosophila, possibly through the perceived availability of nutritional resources, and that olfactory regulation of life span is evolutionarily conserved.

1 Huffington Center on Aging, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
2 Interdepartmental Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
3 Molecular Biology Program, New Mexico State University, Post Office Box 30001, Department 3C, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA.
4 Biology and Biochemistry Department, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77024, USA.
5 Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pletcher{at}

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