Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reproduction and life span are intertwined

Date:
December 17, 2012
Source:
The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing/ Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns
Summary:
Removing a roundworm's germ cells prolongs the animal's life. The gonad is well known to be important for reproduction but also affects animal life span. Removal of germ cells – the sperm and egg producing cells – increases longevity of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms were a mystery. Now scientists have discovered that germ cell removal flips a “molecular switch” that extends the life span by using components of a “developmental clock”.

The gonad is well known to be important for reproduction but also affects animal life span. Removal of germ cells - the sperm and egg producing cells - increases longevity of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms were a mystery. Now scientists at the Cologne-based Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, have discovered that germ cell removal flips a "molecular switch" that extends the life span by using components of a "developmental clock."

The roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans is a commonly used model organism in the field of aging research. It develops from an egg to adult through four larval stages. These developmental stages are controlled by a developmental clock. Yidong Shen and colleagues working in the department of Director Adam Antebi used a laser to remove the germ cells.

They found that the remaining gonadal cells trigger production of a steroid hormone called dafachronic acid. Dafachronic acid activates so-called microRNAs, which work as tiny molecular switches causing changes in gene expression that promote longevity. Interestingly, this same steroid hormone-microRNA switch was previously shown by Antebi and colleagues to be part of the developmental clock. Thus, the loss of the germ cells ultimately causes the worm to use developmental timers to put in motion a life-prolonging programme.

In uncovering these findings, the Max Planck scientists have added some more pieces to the puzzle of describing and understanding how longevity is regulated. The question now is whether humans also possess a similar microRNA-controlled switch system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing/ Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Shen, J. Wollam, D. Magner, O. Karalay, A. Antebi. A Steroid Receptor-MicroRNA Switch Regulates Life Span in Response to Signals from the Gonad. Science, 2012; 338 (6113): 1472 DOI: 10.1126/science.1228967

Cite This Page:

The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing/ Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns. "Reproduction and life span are intertwined." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217091157.htm>.
The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing/ Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns. (2012, December 17). Reproduction and life span are intertwined. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217091157.htm
The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing/ Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns. "Reproduction and life span are intertwined." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217091157.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins