The 4E-BP growth pathway regulates the effect of ambient temperature on Drosophila metabolism and lifespan [Physiology]
Changes in body temperature can profoundly affect survival. The dramatic longevity-enhancing effect of cold has long been known in organisms ranging from invertebrates to mammals, yet the underlying mechanisms have only recently begun to be uncovered. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, this process is regulated by a thermosensitive membrane TRP channel and the DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor, but in more complex organisms the underpinnings of cold-induced longevity remain largely mysterious. We report that, in Drosophila melanogaster, variation in ambient temperature triggers metabolic changes in protein translation, mitochondrial protein synthesis, and posttranslational regulation of the translation repressor, 4E-BP (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein). We show that 4E-BP determines Drosophila lifespan in the context of temperature changes, revealing a genetic mechanism for cold-induced longevity in this model organism. Our results suggest that the 4E-BP pathway, chiefly thought of as a nutrient sensor, may represent a master metabolic switch responding to diverse environmental factors.
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