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Genetics. 2007 Dec;177(4):2063-74.

A Measurable increase in oxidative damage due to reduction in superoxide detoxification fails to shorten the life span of long-lived mitochondrial mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada.


SOD-1 and SOD-2 detoxify superoxide in the cytoplasm and mitochondria. We find that, although several long-lived mutants of Caenorhabditis elegans have increased SOD levels, this phenomenon does not correlate with life span or growth rate. Furthermore, although disruption of sod-1 or -2 expression produces numerous phenotypes, including increased sensitivity to paraquat and increased oxidative damage to proteins (except in daf-2 mutants), this fails to shorten the life span of these long-lived mutants. In fact, sod-1(RNAi) increases the life span of daf-2 mutants and sod-2(RNAi) that of clk-1 mutants. Our results suggest that increased superoxide detoxification and low oxidative damage are not crucial for the longevity of the mutants examined, with the possible exception of daf-2, where our results are inconclusive. These results are surprising because several of the long-lived mutants that we examined specifically affect mitochondrial electron transport, a process whose involvement in life-span determination is believed to be related to superoxide generation. We discuss the significance of our findings in light of the oxidative stress theory of aging.

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