The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an important model for studying the genetics of ageing, with over 50 life-extension mutations known so far. However, little is known about the pathobiology of ageing in this species, limiting attempts to connect genotype with senescent phenotype. Using ultrastructural analysis and visualization of specific cell types with green fluorescent protein, we examined cell integrity in different tissues as the animal ages.
As in the case of aging, many degenerative disorders also result from progressive mitochondrial deterioration and cellular damage accumulation. Therefore, preventing damage accumulation may delay aging and help to prevent degenerative disorders, especially those associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans a mild mitochondrial dysfunction prolongs the lifespan.
Platinum nanoparticle (Pt-np) species are superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetics and also have an activity similar to that of mitochondrial electron transport complex I. To examine if this complex I-like activity functions in vivo, we studied the effects of Pt-nps on the lifespan of a mitochondrial complex I-deficient Caenorhabditis elegans mutant, nuo-1 (LB25) compared with wild-type N2. We synthesized a fusion protein of a cell-penetrating peptide, human immunodeficiency virus-1 TAT (48-60), C-terminally linked to a peptide with a high affinity to platinum (GRKKRRQRRRPPQ-DRTSTWR).
In this review, we describe recent advances in the field of RNA regulatory biology and relate these advances to aging science. We introduce a new term, RNA surveillance, an RNA regulatory process that is conserved in metazoans, and describe how RNA surveillance represents molecular cross-talk between two emerging RNA regulatory systems-RNA interference and RNA editing. We discuss how RNA surveillance mechanisms influence mRNA and microRNA expression and activity during lifespan.
Removal of the reproductive system of many animals including fish, flies, nematodes, mice and humans can increase lifespan through mechanisms largely unknown. The abrogation of the germline in Caenorhabditis elegans increases longevity by 60% due to a signal emitted from the somatic gonad. Apart from increased longevity, germline-less C. elegans is also resistant to other environmental stressors such as feeding on bacterial pathogens.
Schistosomiasis is among the most prevalent human parasitic diseases, affecting more than 200 million people worldwide. The aetiological agents of this disease are trematode flatworms (Schistosoma) that live and lay eggs within the vasculature of the host. These eggs lodge in host tissues, causing inflammatory responses that are the primary cause of morbidity. Because these parasites can live and reproduce within human hosts for decades, elucidating the mechanisms that promote their longevity is of fundamental importance.
A C. elegans neurosecretory signaling system regulates whether animals enter the reproductive life cycle or arrest development at the long-lived dauer diapause stage. daf-2, a key gene in the genetic pathway that mediates this endocrine signaling, encodes an insulin receptor family member. Decreases in DAF-2 signaling induce metabolic and developmental changes, as in mammalian metabolic control by the insulin receptor. Decreased DAF-2 signaling also causes an increase in life-span.
Many fundamental questions on aging are still unanswered or are under intense debate. These questions are frequently not addressable by examining a single gene or a single pathway, but can best be addressed at the systems level. Here we examined the modular structure of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks during fruitfly and human brain aging. In both networks, there are two modules associated with the cellular proliferation to differentiation temporal switch that display opposite aging-related changes in expression.
Dietary restriction (DR) extends lifespan in man species and modulates evolutionary conserved signalling and metabolic pathways. Most of these studies were done in adult animals. Here we investigated fat phenotypes of C. elegans larvae and adults which were exposed to DR during development. This approach was named "developmental-DR" (dDR). Moderate as well as stringent dDR increased the triglyceride to protein ratio in L4 larvae and adult worms. This alteration was accompanied by a marked expansion of intestinal and hypodermal lipid droplets.