The absence of mtDNA in rho0 yeast cells affects both respiration and mitochondrial-nuclear communication (e.g., retrograde regulation, intergenomic signaling, or pleiotropic drug resistance). Previously, it has been reported that some rho0 strains have increased replicative lifespans, attributable to the lack of respiration and retrograde regulation.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been a hallmark of cancer. However, whether it has a causative role awaits to be elucidated. Here, using an animal model derived from inactivation of SUV3, a mitochondrial helicase, we demonstrated that mSuv3+/- mice harbored increased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations and decreased mtDNA copy numbers, leading to tumor development in various sites and shortened lifespan. These phenotypes were transmitted maternally, indicating the etiological role of the mitochondria.
BioEssays: News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Mitochondrial function is achieved through the cooperative interaction of two genomes: one nuclear (nuDNA) and the other mitochondrial (mtDNA). The unusual transmission of mtDNA, predominantly maternal without recombination is predicted to affect the fitness of male offspring. Recent research suggests the strong sexual dimorphism in aging is one such fitness consequence. The uniparental inheritance of mtDNA results in a selection asymmetry; mutations that affect only males will not respond to natural selection, imposing a male-specific mitochondrial mutation load.
Reduction of nutrient intake without malnutrition positively influences lifespan and healthspan from yeast to mice and exerts some beneficial effects also in humans. The AMPK-FoxO axis is one of the evolutionarily conserved nutrient-sensing pathways, and the FOXO3A locus is associated with human longevity. Interestingly, FoxO3A has been reported to be also a mitochondrial protein in mammalian cells and tissues. Here we report that glucose restriction triggers FoxO3A accumulation into mitochondria of fibroblasts and skeletal myotubes in an AMPK-dependent manner.
Mitochondria fulfill a number of essential cellular functions and play a key role in the aging process. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are predominantly generated in this organelle but next to inducing oxidative damage they act as signaling molecules. Autophagy is regulated by signaling ROS and is known to affect aging as well as neurodegenerative diseases. Many cellular components that influence autophagy are linked to longevity such as members of the sirtuin protein family.