Shuttle craft: a candidate quantitative trait gene for Drosophila lifespan

Aging Cell. 2004 Oct;3(5):297-307. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9728.2004.00114.x.


Variation in longevity in natural populations is attributable to the segregation of multiple interacting loci, whose effects are sensitive to the environment. Although there has been considerable recent progress towards understanding the environmental factors and genetic pathways that regulate lifespan, little is known about the genes causing naturally occurring variation in longevity. Previously, we used deficiency complementation mapping to map two closely linked quantitative trait loci (QTL) causing female-specific variation in longevity between the Oregon (Ore) and 2b strains of Drosophila melanogaster to 35B9-C3 and 35C3 on the second chromosome. The 35B9-C3 QTL encompasses a 50-kb region including four genes, for one of which, shuttle craft (stc), mutations have been generated. The 35C3 QTL localizes to a 200-kb interval with 15 genes, including three genes for which mutations exist (reduced (rd), guftagu (gft) and ms(2)35Ci). Here, we report quantitative complementation tests to mutations at these four positional candidate genes, and show that ms(2)35Ci and stc are novel candidate quantitative trait genes affecting variation in Drosophila longevity. Complementation tests with stc alleles reveal sex- and allele-specific failure to complement, and complementation effects are dependent on the genetic background, indicating considerable epistasis for lifespan. In addition, a homozygous viable stc allele has a sex-specific effect on lifespan. stc encodes an RNA polymerase II transcription factor, and is an attractive candidate gene for the regulation of longevity and variation in longevity, because it is required for motoneuron development and is expressed throughout development. Quantitative genetic analysis of naturally occurring variants with subtle effects on lifespan can identify novel candidate genes and pathways important in the regulation of longevity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Phenotype*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins