Protein: carbohydrate ratios explain life span patterns found in Queensland fruit fly on diets varying in yeast:sugar ratios

Benjamin G. Fanson*, Phillip W. Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dietary restriction extends life span across a vast diversity of taxa, but significant challenges remain in elucidating the underlying mechanisms. Distinguishing between caloric and nutrient effects is an essential step. Recent studies with Drosophila and tephritid fruit flies have reported increased life span as dietary yeast-to-sugar ratios decreased and these effects have been attributed to changes in protein-to-carbohydrate (P:C) ratios of the diets rather than calories. However, yeast is a complex mix of macronutrients and micronutrients, and hence changes in yeast content of the diet necessarily alters other nutrients in lockstep. To explicitly test whether studies using yeast are justified in attributing results to diet protein content rather than correlated nutrients, we developed a chemically defined diet allowing manipulation of just the ratio of protein (free amino acids) to carbohydrate (sucrose) levels of diets while holding other nutrients constant. Mated, female Queensland fruit flies (Q-flies) were fed 1 of 18 diets varying in P:C ratios and diet concentration. Diet consumption, egg production, and life span were recorded for each fly. In close concordance with recent studies using yeast diets, flies had increased life span as P:C ratios decreased, and caloric restriction did not extend life span. Similarly, egg production was maximized on high P:C ratios, but lifetime egg production was maximized on intermediate P:C ratios, indicating a life history trade-off between life span and egg production rate. Finally, Q-flies adjusted their diet intake in response to P:C ratios and diet concentration. Our results substantiate recent claims that P:C ratios significantly modulate life span in flies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1361-1368
Number of pages8
JournalAge
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

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