What is it about?

RNAi targeting the electron transport chain has been proven to prolong life span in many different species, and experiments specifically with Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans have shown a distinct role for neurons. To determine which subset of neurons is implicated in this life span extension, we used the GAL4/UAS system to activate RNAi against genes of Complex I and Complex V. We found life span extension of 18 – 24% with two glutamate neuron GAL4 lines. Limiting GAL4 activity to non-VGlut glutamate neurons in the D42 background failed to extend life span, suggesting that glutamate neurons have a unique role in aging. Interestingly, RNAi of the electron transport chain in D42 glutamate neurons also caused an increase in daytime and nighttime sleep and a decrease in nighttime locomotor activity. Our findings demonstrate that a small subset of neurons can control life span, and further studies exploring the role of the electron transport chain in aging can be focused on the activity of glutamate neurons

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Why is it important?

Life span extension in Drosop[hila can be mediated by genetically altering components of the mitochondria specific to neurons. This work furthers these observations by restricting the mitochondrial electron transport chain changes to glutamate neurons. This work also shows that the RNAi of the electron transport chain in glutamate neurons affects sleep and activity.

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This page is a summary of: RNAi of Complex I and V of the electron transport chain in glutamate neurons extends life span, increases sleep, and decreases locomotor activity in Drosophila melanogaster, PLoS ONE, June 2023, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0286828.
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