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J Biol Chem. 2004 May 7;279(19):19996-20001. Epub 2004 Mar 2.

Lack of peroxisomal catalase causes a progeric phenotype in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Alberta, Medical Sciences Building 5-14, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H7, Canada.


Studies using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to investigate the aging process have implicated the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-I signaling pathway in the regulation of organismal longevity through its action on a subset of target genes. These targets can be classified into genes that shorten or extend life-span upon their induction. Genes that shorten life-span include a variety of stress response genes, among them genes encoding catalases; however, no evidence directly implicates catalases in the aging process of nematodes or other organisms. Using genetic mutants, we show that lack of peroxisomal catalase CTL-2 causes a progeric phenotype in C. elegans. Lack of peroxisomal catalase also affects the developmental program of C. elegans, since Deltactl-2 mutants exhibit decreased egg laying capacity. In contrast, lack of cytosolic catalase CTL-1 has no effect on either nematode aging or egg laying capacity. The Deltactl-2 mutation also shortens the maximum life-span of the long lived Deltaclk-1 mutant and accelerates the onset of its egg laying period. The more rapid aging of Deltactl-2 worms is apparently not due to increased carbonylation of the major C. elegans proteins, although altered peroxisome morphology in the Deltactl-2 mutant suggests that changes in peroxisomal function, including increased production of reactive oxygen species, underlie the progeric phenotype of the Deltactl-2 mutant. Our findings support an important role for peroxisomal catalase in both the development and aging of C. elegans and suggest the utility of the Deltactl-2 mutant as a convenient model for the study of aging and the human diseases acatalasemia and hypocatalasemia.

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