More Data Pointing to the Importance of Mitochondria

Here a research group digs into a common factor observed as a result of a number of different longevity mutations in nematode worms: lower mitochondrial membrane potential, implying increased mitochondrial uncoupling, a process by which mitochondria produce heat rather than chemical energy for the cells. As we already know, greater uncoupling is correlated with greater longevity. "[Mitochondrial] energy production via oxidative phosphorylation generates a mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) across the inner membrane. In this work, we show that a lower DeltaPsim is associated with increased lifespan in [nematode worms]. The long-lived mutants daf-2, age-1, clk-1, isp-1 and eat-2 all have a lower DeltaPsim than wild type animals. ... We conclude that longevity pathways converge on the mitochondria and lead to a decreased DeltaPsim. Our results are consistent with the 'uncoupling to survive' hypothesis, which states that dissipation of the DeltaPsim will extend lifespan." Mitochondria are very important to longevity; all the signs point in that direction.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19442682

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