This article is about the different flies, Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a set of genes that act in muscles to modulate aging and resistance to stress in fruit flies, Scientists have previously found mutations that extend fruit fly lifespan, but this group of genes is distinct because it acts specifically in muscles, The findings could help doctors better understand and treat muscle degeneration in human aging. Vrailas-Mortimer, Sanyal and colleagues started investigating a pair of genes called “p38 MAP kinase” in fruit flies with the expectation that they could play a role in learning and memory, they discovered that mutations in these genes speed up the process of aging and make the flies more sensitive to oxidative stress. Mr. Sanyal says It was really just dumb luck, because we found a mutant that had almost completely lost gene activity, but had enough activity to be born, If both genes are defective in the same fly, the flies die very early. They begin to develop motor problems, becoming unable to fly and climb, a few days after birth, The mutant flies are also more sensitive to heat, being deprived of food and water, and exposure to oxidative stress. The researchers could correct the effects of the mutations by restoring the genes’ activity in muscles, but not nerve cells. The experiment that made us nervous was when we asked whether having more p38 could increase lifespan,” Sanyal says. “You can make flies sick and shorten their lives in a hundred different ways easily, but finding one gene that makes a big change in lifespan is more significant. In Sanyal’s laboratory fruit flies live for 75 days depending on temperature, it is sufficient that p38 is overproduced in muscles only. The researches found giving flies more MnSOD can restore a more normal lifespan to the p38 mutants. Other types of antioxidant enzymes don’t rescue lifespan in flies with p38 mutations, P38, MEF2 and MnSOD’s action in muscles distinguishes them from a well-studied genetic circuit regulating aging in the worm C. elegans as well as flies and mice, which appears to work through insulin-like hormone responses in the brain and other tissues. Sanyal says he and his team plan to examine what kinds of dietary antioxidants can extend lifespan in flies without p38. They also plan to probe how caloric restriction interacts with p38 deficiency.
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Muscling toward a longer life: Genetic aging pathway identified in flies