Brown University biologists have uncovered a complicated chain of molecular events that leads from insulin to protein degradation in muscles and significantly diminished life span in fruit flies. The new study in PLoS Genetics, which may have broad implications across species, identifies the fly version of the mammalian protein activin as the central culprit in the process.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Fruit flies are notoriously short-lived but scientists interested in the biology of aging in all animals have begun to understand why some fruit flies live longer than others. They have documented a direct association between insulin and life span, for example, and have observed a tradeoff between prolific reproduction and longevity. A new study, which may have broad implications across species, ties those findings more closely together by tracing an insulin signaling cascade through to protein quality control in muscle tissue and shortened life span. (more…)