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Aging Cell. 2008 Mar;7(2):260-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2008.00371.x. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

Glyoxalase-1 prevents mitochondrial protein modification and enhances lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Medicine I and Clinical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Studies of mutations affecting lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans show that mitochondrial generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays a major causative role in organismal aging. Here, we describe a novel mechanism for regulating mitochondrial ROS production and lifespan in C. elegans: progressive mitochondrial protein modification by the glycolysis-derived dicarbonyl metabolite methylglyoxal (MG). We demonstrate that the activity of glyoxalase-1, an enzyme detoxifying MG, is markedly reduced with age despite unchanged levels of glyoxalase-1 mRNA. The decrease in enzymatic activity promotes accumulation of MG-derived adducts and oxidative stress markers, which cause further inhibition of glyoxalase-1 expression. Over-expression of the C. elegans glyoxalase-1 orthologue CeGly decreases MG modifications of mitochondrial proteins and mitochondrial ROS production, and prolongs C. elegans lifespan. In contrast, knock-down of CeGly increases MG modifications of mitochondrial proteins and mitochondrial ROS production, and decreases C. elegans lifespan.

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