Editors' ChoiceAging

Fruit Flies at a Ripe Old Age

Science's STKE  10 Apr 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 77, pp. tw9
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.77.tw9

Life-span is partly controlled by the genetic makeup of an organism. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, mutations in the daf pathway, which normally regulates an inactive hibernation-like life phase, can prolong life-span dramatically. The daf pathway is homologous to the insulin pathway of higher organisms, a tantalizing link to the ability of caloric restriction to increase rodent life-span. By mutating the genes in the insulin-like pathway of fruit flies, Tatar et al. and Clancy et al. generalize the participation of this pathway in life-span control. Mutation of the InR gene (homologous to the mammalian insulin receptor and the daf-2 gene) increased by 85%, and mutation of chico, an insulin receptor substrate, prolonged fly life-span by 52%. The insulin-like signaling pathway and its control of organismal metabolic activity is thus likely to be a general regulator of the rate of aging in a broad range of species. A news story by Strauss accompanies the articles.

M. Tatar, A. Kopelman, D. Epstein, M.-P. Tu, C.-M. Yin, R. S. Garofalo, A mutant Drosophila insulin receptor homolog that extends life-span and impairs neuroendocrine function. Science 292, 107-110 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. J. Clancy, D. Gems, L. G. Harshman, S. Oldham, H. Stocker, E. Hafen, S. J. Leevers, L. Partridge, Extension of life-span by loss of CHICO, a Drosophila insulin receptor substrate protein. Science 292, 104-106 (2001). [Abstract] [Full Text]

E. Strauss, Growing old together. Science 292, 41-43 (2001). [Full Text]