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Aging cell

A metabolic signature for long life in the Caenorhabditis elegans Mit mutants.


PMID 23173729

Abstract

Mit mutations that disrupt function of the mitochondrial electron transport chain can, inexplicably, prolong Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan. In this study we use a metabolomics approach to identify an ensemble of mitochondrial-derived α-ketoacids and α-hydroxyacids that are produced by long-lived Mit mutants but not by other long-lived mutants or by short-lived mitochondrial mutants. We show that accumulation of these compounds is dependent on concerted inhibition of three α-ketoacid dehydrogenases that share dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLD) as a common subunit, a protein previously linked in humans with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. When the expression of DLD in wild-type animals was reduced using RNA interference we observed an unprecedented effect on lifespan - as RNAi dosage was increased lifespan was significantly shortened, but, at higher doses, it was significantly lengthened, suggesting that DLD plays a unique role in modulating length of life. Our findings provide novel insight into the origin of the Mit phenotype.