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Mech Ageing Dev. 2009 Jul;130(7):461-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 May 12.

C. elegans longevity pathways converge to decrease mitochondrial membrane potential.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada.


Energy production via oxidative phosphorylation generates a mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) across the inner membrane. In this work, we show that a lower DeltaPsi(m) is associated with increased lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. The long-lived mutants daf-2(e1370), age-1(hx546), clk-1(qm30), isp-1(qm150) and eat-2(ad465) all have a lower DeltaPsi(m) than wild type animals. The lower DeltaPsi(m) of daf-2(e1370) is daf-16 dependent, indicating that the insulin-like signaling pathway not only regulates lifespan but also mitochondrial energetics. RNA interference (RNAi) against 17 genes shown to extend lifespan also decrease DeltaPsi(m). Furthermore, lifespan can be significantly extended with the uncoupler carbonylcyanide-3-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), which dissipates DeltaPsi(m). We conclude that longevity pathways converge on the mitochondria and lead to a decreased DeltaPsi(m). Our results are consistent with the 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis, which states that dissipation of the DeltaPsi(m) will extend lifespan.

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