Rapamycin is a powerful inhibitor of the TOR (Target of Rapamycin) pathway, which is an evolutionarily conserved protein kinase, that plays a central role in plants and animals. Rapamycin is used globally as an immunosuppressant and as an anti-aging medicine. Despite widespread use, treatment efficiency varies considerably across patients, and little is known about potential side effects. Here we seek to investigate the effects of rapamycin by using Drosophila melanogaster as model system. Six isogenic D. melanogaster lines were assessed for their fecundity, male longevity and male heat stress tolerance with or without rapamycin treatment. The results showed increased longevity and heat stress tolerance for male flies treated with rapamycin. Conversely, the fecundity of rapamycin-exposed individuals was lower than for flies from the non-treated group, suggesting unwanted side effects of the drug in D. melanogaster. We found strong evidence for genotype-by-treatment interactions suggesting that a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to treatment with rapamycin is not recommendable. The beneficial responses to rapamycin exposure for stress tolerance and longevity are in agreement with previous findings, however, the unexpected effects on reproduction are worrying and need further investigation and question common believes that rapamycin constitutes a harmless drug.
Udgave nummer5
StatusUdgivet - 20 maj 2021