Main content area

Drosophila drop-dead mutations accelerate the time course of age-related markers

Rogina, B., Benzer, S., Helfand, S.L.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1997 v.94 no.12 pp. 6303-6306
Drosophila melanogaster, genes, longevity, mutants, genetic markers, recombinant DNA, beta-galactosidase, reporter genes, gene expression, temporal variation, mutation, histochemistry
Mutations of the drop-dead gene in Drosophila melanogaster lead to striking early death of the adult animal. At different times, after emergence from the pupa, individual flies begin to stagger and, shortly thereafter, die. Anatomical examination reveals gross neuropathological lesions in the brain. The life span of flies mutant for the drop-dead gene is four to five times shorter than for normal adults. That raises the question whether loss of the normal gene product might set into motion a series of events typical of the normal aging process. We used molecular markers, the expression patterns of which, in normal flies, change with age in a manner that correlates with life span. In the drop-dead mutant, there is an acceleration in the temporal pattern of expression of these age-related markers.