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Genetics. 2002 Jun;161(2):661-72.

Induced overexpression of mitochondrial Mn-superoxide dismutase extends the life span of adult Drosophila melanogaster.

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Molecular and Computational Biology Program, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089-1340, USA.


A transgenic system ("FLP-out") based on yeast FLP recombinase allowed induced overexpression of MnSOD enzyme in adult Drosophila melanogaster. With FLP-out a brief heat pulse (HP) of young, adult flies triggered the rearrangement and subsequent expression of a MnSOD transgene throughout the adult life span. Control (no HP) and overexpressing (HP) flies had identical genetic backgrounds. The amount of MnSOD enzyme overexpression achieved varied among six independent transgenic lines, with increases up to 75%. Life span was increased in proportion to the increase in enzyme. Mean life span was increased by an average of 16%, with some lines showing 30-33% increases. Maximum life span was increased by an average of 15%, with one line showing as much as 37% increase. Simultaneous overexpression of catalase with MnSOD had no added benefit, consistent with previous observations that catalase is present in excess in the adult fly with regard to life span. Cu/ZnSOD overexpression also increases mean and maximum life span. For both MnSOD and Cu/ZnSOD lines, increased life span was not associated with decreased metabolic activity, as measured by O2 consumption.

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