Washington D.C. : A new study says fruit flies can build resistance to the toxins found in deadly mushrooms – Death Cap and Destroying Angel that may help them live longer.
According to researchers from Michigan Technological University in the U.S, fruit fly species have adapted many niche preferences, such as a tolerance for alpha-amanitin, a toxin found in the Amanita genus of poisonous mushrooms.
Their results were published by PLOS ONE.
The main finding is the genetic mechanism that control the toxin resistance correspond to the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway that regulates cell physiology and metabolism in humans and other mammals.
The findings could open up new possibilities for studying cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and neurodegenerative diseases.
The team worked on figuring out, how fruit flies build resistance to the toxins and the resistance’s effects on longevity.
“We found that there are multiple mechanisms that make sense,” Werner stated, explaining that the mechanisms focused on the genetic regulation of detoxification enzymes.
Adding, “And the more resistant the fruit flies were, the longer they lived.”
Then they pulled in 180 lines of fruit flies collected at a Raleigh, North Carolina farmer’s market for comparison.
By putting big data techniques to work, they were able to screen genetic traits and nucleotide sequences to better discern candidate genes that control the toxin resistance.
“To do the analysis, we decide on a trait, which we will test in all 180 lines and selected mushroom toxin resistance and found continuous variation in the lines,” Werner noted.
A better understanding of the resistance’s evolution mechanisms could offer insight into many diseases including cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and neurodegenerative diseases.