Flies selected for longevity retain a young gene expression profile
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- Sarup, P., Sørensen, P. & Loeschcke, V. AGE (2011) 33: 69. doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9162-8
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We investigated correlated responses in the transcriptomes of longevity-selected lines of Drosophila melanogaster to identify pathways that affect life span in metazoan systems. We evaluated the gene expression profile in young, middle-aged, and old male flies, finding that 530 genes were differentially expressed between selected and control flies when measured at the same chronological age. The longevity-selected flies consistently showed expression profiles more similar to control flies one age class younger than control flies of the same age. This finding is in accordance with a younger gene expression profile in longevity-selected lines. Among the genes down-regulated in longevity-selected lines, we found a clear over-representation of genes involved in immune functions, supporting the hypothesis of a life-shortening effect of an overactive immune system, known as inflammaging. We judged the physiological age as the level of cumulative mortality. Eighty-four genes were differentially expressed between the control and longevity-selected lines at the same physiological age, and the overlap between the same chronological and physiological age gene lists included 40 candidate genes for increased longevity. Among these candidates were genes with roles in starvation resistance, immune response regulation, and several that have not yet been linked to longevity. Investigating these genes would provide new knowledge of the pathways that affect life span in invertebrates and, potentially, mammals.