Long lifespan in worms with long telomeric DNA

Nature Genetics
Kyu Sang JoengJunho Lee

Abstract

Telomere length is a crucial factor in senescence, but it has not been determined whether animals with long telomeres live longer than those with normal-length telomeres in the isogenic background of a given species. Here we show the effect of long telomeres on lifespan in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We examined the effect of telomere length on lifespan by overexpressing HRP-1, a telomere-binding protein, which gradually increased telomere length in worms. Worms with longer telomeres lived longer. We confirmed that the extension of lifespan was due to the increased telomere length, and not to the overexpression of HRP-1 per se, by examining the lifespans of nontransgenic progeny of the transgenic worms, who retained the longer telomeres. The lifespan-extending effect of long telomeres was dependent on daf-16. The number of germ stem cells was not affected in worms with long telomeres, indicating that the telomere effect on lifespan is independent of germ stem cell cycling. Worms with long telomeres were more resistant to heat stress. Taken together, our results suggest that signaling may be initiated in postmitotic somatic cells by telomere length to regulate organismal lifespan.

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Related Concepts

Longevity
Gene Expression
Telomere
Caenorhabditis elegans
Genes, Helminth
Homologous Sequences, Amino Acid
DNA, Helminth
Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
Telomere Repeat Binding Proteins

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