Prior studies have established the necessity of an angiotensin-converting enzyme-related (ACER) gene for heart morphogenesis of Drosophila. Nevertheless, the physiology of ACER has yet to be comprehensively understood. Herein, we employed RNA interference to down-regulate the expression of ACER in Drosophila's heart and swept source optical coherence tomography to assess whether ACER is required for cardiac functions in living adult flies. Several contractile parameters of Drosophila heart, including the heart rate (HR), end-diastolic diameter (EDD), end-systolic diameter (ESD), percent fractional shortening (%FS), and stress-induced cardiac performance, are shown, which are age dependent. These age-dependent cardiac functions declined significantly when ACER was down-regulated. Moreover, the lifespans of ACER knock-down flies were significantly shorter than those of wild-type control flies. Thus, we posit that ACER, the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is essential for both heart physiology and longevity of animals. Since mammalian ACE2 controls many cardiovascular physiological features and is implicated in cardiomyopathies, our findings that ACER plays conserved roles in genetically tractable animals will pave the way for uncovering the genetic pathway that controls the renin-angiotensin system.
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