Sexual identity of enterocytes regulates autophagy to determine intestinal health, lifespan and responses to rapamycin

Jennifer C. Regan*, Yu Xuan Lu, Enric Ureña, Ralf L. Meilenbrock, James H. Catterson, Disna Kißler, Jenny Fröhlich, Emilie Funk, Linda Partridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pharmacological attenuation of mTOR presents a promising route for delay of age-related disease. Here we show that treatment of Drosophila with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin extends lifespan in females, but not in males. Female-specific, age-related gut pathology is markedly slowed by rapamycin treatment, mediated by increased autophagy. Treatment increases enterocyte autophagy in females, via the H3/H4 histone-Bchs axis, whereas males show high basal levels of enterocyte autophagy that are not increased by rapamycin feeding. Enterocyte sexual identity, determined by transformerFemale expression, dictates sexually dimorphic cell size, H3/H4-Bchs expression, basal rates of autophagy, fecundity, intestinal homeostasis and lifespan extension in response to rapamycin. Dimorphism in autophagy is conserved in mice, where intestine, brown adipose tissue and muscle exhibit sex differences in autophagy and response to rapamycin. This study highlights tissue sex as a determining factor in the regulation of metabolic processes by mTOR and the efficacy of mTOR-targeted, anti-aging drug treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1145-1158
Number of pages14
JournalNature Aging
Volume2
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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