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Science. 2007 Feb 23;315(5815):1133-7. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Regulation of Drosophila life span by olfaction and food-derived odors.

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Huffington Center on Aging, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Smell is an ancient sensory system present in organisms from bacteria to humans. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, gustatory and olfactory neurons regulate aging and longevity. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, we showed that exposure to nutrient-derived odorants can modulate life span and partially reverse the longevity-extending effects of dietary restriction. Furthermore, mutation of odorant receptor Or83b resulted in severe olfactory defects, altered adult metabolism, enhanced stress resistance, and extended life span. Our findings indicate that olfaction affects adult physiology and aging in Drosophila, possibly through the perceived availability of nutritional resources, and that olfactory regulation of life span is evolutionarily conserved.

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