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Genetics. Jul 1996; 143(3): 1207–1218.
PMCID: PMC1207391

A Genetic Pathway Conferring Life Extension and Resistance to Uv Stress in Caenorhabditis Elegans

Abstract

A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the extension of adult life span (Age) seen in several mutants in Caenorhabditis elegans (age-1: an altered aging rate; daf-2 and daf-23: activation of a dauer-specific longevity program; spe-26: reduced fertility; clk-1: an altered biological clock). Using an assay for ultraviolet (UV) resistance in young adult hermaphrodites (survival after UV irradiation), we observed that all these Age mutants show increased resistance to UV. Moreover, mutations in daf-16 suppressed the UV resistance as well as the increased longevity of all the Age mutants. In contrast to the multiple mechanisms initially proposed, these results suggest that a single, daf-16-dependent pathway, specifies both extended life span and increased UV resistance. The mutations in daf-16 did not alter the reduced fertility of spe-26 and interestingly a daf-16 mutant is more fertile than wild type. We propose that life span and some aspects of stress resistance are jointly negatively regulated by a set of gerontogenes (genes whose alteration causes life extension) in C. elegans.

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