Basic Biology of Aging: Sensory perception and central control of aging in Drosophila
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Scott Pletcher, PhD
Molecular & Integrative Physiology
University of Michigan
Sensory perception & central control of aging in Drosophila
In Drosophila, the effects of dietary restriction, which robustly increases lifespan and reduces aging-related disease across taxa, are fast-acting, reversible, and largely independent of the energetic content of the food. Indeed, certain characteristic of the diet are apparently “sensed” by the flies independent of their tendency to eat it, and this perception may trigger rapid physiological changes that promoted longevity. More broadly, our laboratory has shown that sensory inputs relate information about nutrition, conspecifics, and danger to rapidly initiate changes in physiology and mortality rate, often within a few days. In this presentation I will present evidence showing that specific set of neurons that are involved in the valuation of individual nutrients in the diet influence aging by either promoting or limiting lifespan, fat deposition, or general vigor in old age. I will also discuss our progress identifying specific neural circuits and deeper brain regions that are important for integrating sensory input and orchestrating organism-wide effects on health and lifespan.
The Basic Biology of Aging seminar series is sponsored by The Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, the Genetic Approaches to Aging Training Grant, and the UW Healthy Aging and Longevity (HALo) Research Institute. The seminar features guest speakers presenting the latest research in the basic biology of aging.