The fruit fly acetyltransferase chameau promotes starvation resilience at the expense of longevity


Anuroop Venkateswaran Venkatasubramani, Toshiharu Ichinose, Mai Kanno, Ignasi Forne , Hiromu Tanimoto, Shahaf Peleg, & Axel Imhof

EMBO Reports, e57023, 2023

Proteins involved in cellular metabolism and molecular regulation can extend lifespan of various organisms in the laboratory. However, any improvement in aging would only provide an evolutionary benefit if the organisms were able to survive under non-ideal conditions. We have previously shown that Drosophila melanogaster carrying a loss-of-function allele of the acetyltransferase chameau (chm) has an increased healthy lifespan when fed ad libitum. Here, we show that loss of chm and reduction in its activity results in a substantial reduction in weight and a decrease in starvation resistance. This phenotype is caused by failure to properly regulate the genes and proteins required for energy storage and expenditure. The previously observed increase in survival time thus comes with the inability to prepare for and cope with nutrient stress. As the ability to survive in environments with restricted food availability is likely a stronger evolutionary driver than the ability to live a long life, chm is still present in the organism's genome despite its apparent negative effect on lifespan.