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EMBO J. 2019 Mar 15;38(6). pii: e99558. doi: 10.15252/embj.201899558. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Multi-omics identify xanthine as a pro-survival metabolite for nematodes with mitochondrial dysfunction.

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German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, Germany.
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Bonn, Germany


Aberrant mitochondrial function contributes to the pathogenesis of various metabolic and chronic disorders. Inhibition of insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) represents a promising avenue for the treatment of mitochondrial diseases, although many of the molecular mechanisms underlying this beneficial effect remain elusive. Using an unbiased multi-omics approach, we report here that IIS inhibition reduces protein synthesis and favors catabolism in mitochondrial deficient Caenorhabditis elegans We unveil that the lifespan extension does not occur through the restoration of mitochondrial respiration, but as a consequence of an ATP-saving metabolic rewiring that is associated with an evolutionarily conserved phosphoproteome landscape. Furthermore, we identify xanthine accumulation as a prominent downstream metabolic output of IIS inhibition. We provide evidence that supplementation of FDA-approved xanthine derivatives is sufficient to promote fitness and survival of nematodes carrying mitochondrial lesions. Together, our data describe previously unknown molecular components of a metabolic network that can extend the lifespan of short-lived mitochondrial mutant animals.


insulin/IGF‐1 signaling (IIS); metabolism; mitochondrial diseases; xanthine

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