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Cell Metab. 2012 Apr 4;15(4):439-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.02.014.

The C. elegans microRNA mir-71 acts in neurons to promote germline-mediated longevity through regulation of DAF-16/FOXO.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


The life span of Caenorhabditis elegans is controlled by signaling between the germline and the soma. Germ cell removal extends life span by triggering the activation of the DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor in the intestine. Here we analyze microRNA function in C. elegans aging and show that the microRNA mir-71 functions to mediate the effects of germ cell loss on life span. mir-71 is required for the life span extension caused by germline removal, and overexpression of mir-71 further extends the life span of animals lacking germ cells. mir-71 functions in the nervous system to facilitate the localization and transcriptional activity of DAF-16 in the intestine. Our findings reveal a microRNA-dependent mechanism of life span regulation by the germline and indicate that signaling among the gonad, the nervous system, and the intestine coordinates the life span of the entire organism.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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