Life- and healthspan extension by marine natural products in Drosophila melanogaster

In the current study, I studied the geroprotective effects of the marine brown alga Eisenia bicyclis and the halophyte plant Salicornia europaea. I discovered that the aqueous extracts of these species extended the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster in a sex-specific manner that could be reproduced for different fly strains. Both extracts influenced the metabolism of flies by altering the glucose and TAG levels. I showed that in the flies fed with Eisenia bicyclis extract, the adverse effects of high-sugar and high-fat dieting on lifespan were rescued with greater effects on high-sugar diets indicating antidiabetic effects of the extract. Interestingly, even late administration of the Eisenia bicyclis extract was beneficial on a high-sugar diet. On the other hand, Salicornia europaea extract was beneficial on a high-fat diet but not a high-sugar diet which revealed the lipid-lowering effects of the extract. Additionally, these flies were more sensitive to starvation conditions. I found that interwoven insulin/insulin-like and Tor signaling pathways are required to extend the lifespan of flies, since the modification of these signaling pathways led to the hindrance of the beneficial effects of Eiseniabicyclis extracts. Moreover, the extract upregulated the expression of the pro-longevity gene Sirtuin 6. However, Salicorniaeuropaea extract failed to extend the lifespan of Tor mutant flies whereas it was effective in lifespan extension in foxo-deficient animals. These results suggest Salicorniaeuropaea mainly modifies the Tor signaling pathway.


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