Scientific Correspondence | Published:

Chaperoning extended life

Abstract

The capacity to moderate internal and external stress is arguably the central function regulating senescence in whole-animal ageing1,2,3. During ageing, molecular chaperones such as heat-shock proteins are thought to combat stress-related senescent dysfunction4,5. In transgenic Drosophila melanogaster, with varying copy numbers of the gene hsp70 encoding heat-shock protein hsp70, we found that heat-induced expression of hsp70 increased lifespan at normal temperatures. Only a brief, low level of expression was required to obtain a long-term improvement in survival.

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Figure 1: Effect of hsp70 expression on relative survivalin ‘extra-copy’ and ‘excision’ strains of Drosophila.

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