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J Biol Chem. 1991 May 15;266(14):9332-8.

Aging affects expression of 70-kDa heat shock proteins in Drosophila.

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  • 1Ryoichi Sasakawa Center for Aging Research, Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94306.


We examined the effect of cellular aging on adult mortality and hsp70 gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster under thermal stress. The results showed that flies exposed to 37 degrees C for various time intervals had reduced survival rate with age. The level of hsp70 mRNA increases in flies up to 23-28 days of age, but then declines as they get older. When flies are shifted to 25 degrees C after 30 min of heat stress, the time-dependent decrease in hsp70 mRNA levels occurs more rapidly in young flies than in old ones. The hsp70 mRNA present during this recovery period is translated into protein, and senescent flies continue to synthesize this protein for up to 5 h after heat shock. The prolonged expression of hsp70 RNA during recovery from heat shock was also observed in young flies fed canavanine, an arginine analogue. These data suggest that in old insects, the accumulation of conformationally altered proteins plays a role in the regulation of hsp70 RNA expression. These results are discussed in relation to the finding that old flies are more sensitive to thermal stress than young ones.

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