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Exp Gerontol. 2008 Jun;43(6):520-9. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2008.02.009. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Modulation of longevity and diapause by redox regulation mechanisms under the insulin-like signaling control in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Genomics for Longevity and Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakaecho, Itabashiku, Tokyo 173-0015, Japan.


In Caenorhabditis elegans, the downregulation of insulin-like signaling induces lifespan extension (Age) and the constitutive formation of dauer larvae (Daf-c). This also causes resistance to oxidative stress (Oxr) and other stress stimuli and enhances the expression of many stress-defense-related enzymes such as Mn superoxide dismutase (SOD) that functions to remove reactive oxygen species in mitochondria. To elucidate the roles of the two isoforms of MnSOD, SOD-2 and SOD-3, in the Age, Daf-c and Oxr phenotypes, we investigated the effects of a gene knockout of MnSODs on them in the daf-2 (insulin-like receptor) mutants that lower insulin-like signaling. In our current report, we demonstrate that double deletions of two MnSOD genes induce oxidative-stress sensitivity and thus ablate Oxr, but do not abolish Age in the daf-2 mutant background. This indicates that Oxr is not the underlying cause of Age and that oxidative stress is not necessarily a limiting factor for longevity. Interestingly, deletions in the sod-2 and sod-3 genes suppressed and stimulated, respectively, both Age and Daf-c. In addition, the sod-2/sod-3 double deletions stimulated these phenotypes in a similar manner to the sod-3 deletion, suggesting that the regulatory pathway consists of two MnSOD isoforms. Furthermore, hyperoxic and hypoxic conditions affected Daf-c in the MnSOD-deleted daf-2 mutants. We thus conclude that the MnSOD systems in C. elegans fine-tune the insulin-like-signaling based regulation of both longevity and dauer formation by acting not as antioxidants but as physiological-redox-signaling modulators.

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