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Mol Cell Biol. 1999 Jan;19(1):216-28.

FLP recombinase-mediated induction of Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase transgene expression can extend the life span of adult Drosophila melanogaster flies.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-1340, USA.


Yeast FLP recombinase was used in a binary transgenic system ("FLP-OUT") to allow induced overexpression of catalase and/or Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu/ZnSOD) in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Expression of FLP recombinase was driven by the heat-inducible hsp70 promoter. Once expressed, FLP catalyzed the rearrangement and activation of a target construct in which expression of catalase or Cu/ZnSOD cDNAs was driven by the constitutive actin5C promoter. In this way a brief heat pulse (120 or 180 min, total) of young adult flies activated transgene expression for the rest of the life span. FLP-OUT allows the effects of induced transgene expression to be analyzed in control (no heat pulse) and experimental (heat pulse) populations with identical genetic backgrounds. Under the conditions used, the heat pulse itself always had neutral or slightly negative effects on the life span. Catalase overexpression significantly increased resistance to hydrogen peroxide but had neutral or slightly negative effects on the mean life span. Cu/ZnSOD overexpression extended the mean life span up to 48%. Simultaneous overexpression of catalase with Cu/ZnSOD had no added benefit, presumably due to a preexisting excess of catalase. The data suggest that oxidative damage is one rate-limiting factor for the life span of adult Drosophila. Finally, experimental manipulation of the genetic background demonstrated that the life span is affected by epistatic interactions between the transgene and allele(s) at other loci.

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