In a report that appears online today in the journal Science Express, Dr. Scott Pletcher, assistant professor in the Huffington Center on Aging and Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at BCM, and his colleagues found that when the calorie-restricted flies were exposed to the odor of yeast paste (although they did not eat it), they did not live as long as insects who were on identical diets but who were not exposed to the odor.
“Odorants limit the benefits of calorie restriction,” Pletcher said.
Calorie restriction is a manipulation that has been shown to lengthen the lives of many different organisms, but the mechanisms through which this is achieved remains largely unknown. Moreover, the fact that reduced calories extend lifespan seems counterintuitive.
However, said Pletcher, dietary restriction does extend the lives of mice, and some data suggest that it also works in primates as well. How it works is not understood. Many feel that it works “through reduced energy,” said Pletcher. “Our work argues that reduced perception plays a role as well.”
“There may be a signaling mechanism that makes the organism operate more robustly when there are few resources (such as food),” said graduate student Sergiy Libert, who is lead author of the Science Express study. “Activating that signaling might be enough to provide the advantage and extend longevity.”
In his study, he said, “Flies that could smell rich food in the environment lived shorter lives than flies who ate the same amount of food but were not exposed to the odorant. The perception of a rich environment was sufficient to shorten the lifespan.”
In the second part of the study, the scientists tested fruit flies or Drosophila melanogaster that could not perceive odors well. The gene Or83b was mutated in these insects, leaving the flies with a severely reduced sense of smell, although they can smell some things.
“These flies appear to be much longer-lived,” said Libert. “There was as much as a 57 percent lifespan extension.” Most fruit flies live about 60 days. These lived longer than 80.
The researchers also found other differences in the flies who could not smell. The slightly obese female flies stored more triglycerides (which could then be used for energy). The flies that could not smell were also more stress-resistant.
“If you expose them to 100 percent oxygen, which is toxic they survive very well,” said Pletcher.
Pletcher, Libert and their colleagues do not know how applicable this finding is to higher-level organisms such as mice, primates and humans. For example, said Pletcher, a gene such as Or83b has not yet been described in mammals, which have hundreds of odor receptors, many of which have not been carefully studied.
They hope to figure out how exactly odors in general affect longevity in the fly and possibly extend that understanding to other organisms – even humans.
Although a gene such as Or83b has not yet been described in mammals, Pletcher, Libert and their colleagues suggest that this finding may be applicable in higher-level organisms such as mice, primates and humans, all of which have hundreds of odor receptors, many of which have not been carefully studied.
Laura Madden-Fuentes | EurekAlert!
Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
12.12.2017 | Life Sciences