Disabling Mitochondrial Genes For Longevity

Researchers make flies live longer by interfering with components of the mitochondrial energy-generating machinery: "Mitochondria have long been proposed to play an important role in the aging process. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, genes important for mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) function stand out as a principal group of genes affecting life span. However, it has been suggested that this may be a peculiarity of nematode biology. In the present study, we have used an in vivo RNA interference (RNAi) strategy to inactivate ETC genes in Drosophila melanogaster and examine the impact on longevity. ... RNAi of five genes encoding components of mitochondrial respiratory complexes I, III, IV, and V leads to increased life span in flies. ... Our data suggest that the role of mitochondrial ETC function in modulating animal aging is evolutionarily conserved and might also operate in humans. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the longer life span of flies with reduced ETC gene expression cannot simply be attributed to reduced energy production leading to decreased 'rate of living.'"

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19747824

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