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Longevity mutation found in flies far and wide
Date:2/5/2014

r to affect the concentration of these nutrients in the cell, effectively mimicking the effect of living on a calorie-restricted diet. Calorie restriction and certain Indy mutations have been shown to extend life span in flies and nematodes.

The hypothesis the scientists pursued is that mutations in Indy regulate the expression of the normal Indy gene, thereby leading to changes in the level of Indy activity in the body for better or worse. For that reason, the researchers measured levels of mRNA (the molecular means by which genes are expressed) in the flies. The more Hoppel insertion there was, they found, the more Indy expression there was. Heterozygotes lived longest and laid the most eggs, suggesting that the best level of expression might be the moderate one.

That the transposable element appears to confer benefits is a very exciting finding, Helfand said.

"It has often been suggested that the insertion of transposable elements into genes are largely detrimental to the organism," he said. "The present study is one of the few documented cases demonstrating insertion of a transposable element to have a positive benefit for the organism. Furthermore, it suggests that mutations due to transposable element insertion into genes may represent one of the ways by which new genetic material is produced, providing the raw material for natural selection and adaptive evolution."


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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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