Life extension through neurofibromin mitochondrial regulation and antioxidant therapy for neurofibromatosis-1 in Drosophila melanogaster

Nat Genet. 2007 Apr;39(4):476-85. doi: 10.1038/ng2004. Epub 2007 Mar 18.


We investigated the pathophysiology of neurofibromatosis-1 (NF1) in Drosophila melanogaster by inactivation or overexpression of the NF1 gene. NF1 gene mutants had shortened life spans and increased vulnerability to heat and oxidative stress in association with reduced mitochondrial respiration and elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Flies overexpressing NF1 had increased life spans, improved reproductive fitness, increased resistance to oxidative and heat stress in association with increased mitochondrial respiration and a 60% reduction in ROS production. These phenotypic effects proved to be modulated by the adenylyl cyclase/cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A pathway, not the Ras/Raf pathway. Treatment of wild-type D. melanogaster with cAMP analogs increased their life span, and treatment of NF1 mutants with metalloporphyrin catalytic antioxidant compounds restored their life span. Thus, neurofibromin regulates longevity and stress resistance through cAMP regulation of mitochondrial respiration and ROS production, and NF1 may be treatable using catalytic antioxidants.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclic AMP / analogs & derivatives
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Male
  • Metalloporphyrins / therapeutic use
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / drug therapy*
  • Neurofibromatosis 1 / pathology
  • Neurofibromin 1 / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Metalloporphyrins
  • Neurofibromin 1
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Cyclic AMP