Fly Mutation May Hold Key to Human Longetivity

Scientists are closer to understating a genetic mutation that leads to increased lifespan in fruit flies.
Loukia Papadopoulos

New research is bringing scientists closer to understanding how a genetic mutation found in fruit flies could hold the key to a longer human lifespan. The mutation called the E(z) histone methyltransferase heterozygous mutation was studied using genome-wide transcriptome analysis.


22 to 23 percent increased lifespan

The researchers found that the flies carrying the E(z) mutation lived 22 to 23 percent longer compared to the control group. Furthermore, the mutant flies were more resistant to hyperthermia, oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress. They were also more fertile.

"The findings of the conducted research may be a step toward investigating whether the E(z) mutation could play a role in human longevity and have implications for understanding the role of global derepression of chromatin in aging," said Dr. Alexey Moskalev, Ph.D., Head of the Laboratory of Geroprotective and Radioprotective technologies.

The researchers further uncovered that the E(z) genes aging -related expressions were involved in pathways related to the immune response, cell cycle and ribosome biogenesis.

The work is part of the laboratory of geroprotector and radioprotector technologies of the Institute of Biology Komi SC UrB RAS.  According to their press release, "the laboratory's research is aimed at studying the molecular and genetic mechanisms of lifespan regulation, aging process, stress- and radioresistance."

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The laboratory has already identified several dozen genes with pro-longevity action and is actively studying the geroprotective effects of various pharmacological agents, natural compounds, and plant extracts on aging-related signaling pathways, lifespan and physiological functions. 

Not the first study

This isn't the first anti-aging study to be done on fruit flies. Back in 2017, scientists slowed the aging process in fruit flies and gave them 20 percent more prolonged life by tweaking the production of a certain protein. It seems fruit flies have a lot to teach us about longetivity.

The study titled "Transcriptome Analysis of Long-lived Drosophila melanogaster E(z) Mutants Sheds Light on the Molecular Mechanisms of Longevity" is published in Nature Scientific Reports.

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