Indy-Dependent Life-Style

Science's STKE  19 Dec 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 63, pp. tw6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.63.tw6

Aging and life-span are still poorly understood aspects of basic biology, although it is widely accepted that genetic factors play a role. To identify specific genes that influence life-span, many researchers have turned to model organisms such as yeast, worms, and flies. Rogina et al. have found that altered expression of a single gene in the fruit fly Drosophila nearly doubles the life-span of the flies without adverse effects on fertility or physical activity. This gene, called Indy (for I'm not dead yet), encodes a protein with sequence homology to mammalian sodium dicarboxylate cotransporters, transmembrane proteins that transport Krebs cycle intermediates across the plasma membrane. On the basis of this sequence homology and the gene's expression pattern in the flies, the authors postulate that Indy affects life-span by altering absorption and utilization of metabolites, perhaps creating a metabolic state similar to caloric restriction. The news story by Pennisi provides more information on the work by Rogina et al.

Rogina, B., Reenan, R.A., Nilsen, S.P., and Helfand, S.L. (2000) Extended life-span conferred by cotransporter gene mutations in Drosophila. Science 290: 2137-2140. [Abstract] [Full Text]

Pennisi, E. (2000) AGING RESEARCH: Old flies may hold secrets of aging. Science 290: 2048. [Full Text]