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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • behaviour;
  • geotaxis;
  • integrin;
  • lifespan;
  • mortality

Summary

The genetic basis for aging is being intensely investigated in a variety of model systems. Much of the focus in Drosophila has been on the molecular–genetic determinants of lifespan, whereas the molecular–genetic basis for age-related functional declines has been less vigorously explored. We evaluated behavioural aging and lifespan in flies harbouring loss-of-function mutations in myospheroid, the gene that encodes βPS, a β integrin. Integrins are adhesion molecules that regulate a number of cellular processes and developmental events. Their role in aging, however, has received limited attention. We report here that age-related declines in locomotor activity are ameliorated and that mean lifespan is increased in myospheroid mutants. The delayed functional senescence and altered mortality in myospheroid flies are independent of changes in body size, reproduction or stress resistance. Our data indicate that functional senescence and age-dependent mortality are influenced by β integrins in Drosophila.