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    Run-on of germline apoptosis promotes gonad senescence in C. elegans

    de la Guardia, Y. and Gilliat, A.F. and Hellberg, J. and Rennert, P. and Cabreiro, Filipe and Gems, D. (2016) Run-on of germline apoptosis promotes gonad senescence in C. elegans. Oncotarget 7 (26), ISSN 1949-2553.

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    Aging (senescence) includes causal mechanisms (etiologies) of late-life disease, which remain poorly understood. According to the recently proposed hyperfunction theory, based on the older theory of antagonistic pleiotropy, senescent pathologies can arise from futile, post-reproductive run-on of processes that in early life promote fitness. Here we apply this idea to investigate the etiology of senescent pathologies in the reproductive system of Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites, particularly distal gonad degeneration and disintegration. Hermaphrodite germ cells frequently undergo “physiological” (non-damage-induced) apoptosis (PA) to provision growing oocytes. Run-on of such PA is a potential cause of age-related gonad degeneration. We document the continuation of germline apoptosis in later life, and report that genetically blocking or increasing PA retards or accelerates degeneration, respectively. In wild-type males, which lack germ line apoptosis, gonad disintegration does not occur. However, mutational induction of PA in males does not lead to gonad disintegration. These results suggest that as germ-cell proliferation rate declines markedly in aging hermaphrodites (but not males), run-on of PA becomes a pathogenic mechanism that promotes gonad degeneration. This illustrates how hyperfunction, or non-adaptive run-on in later life of a process that promotes fitness in early life, can promote atrophic senescent pathology in C. elegans.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2016 13:21
    Last Modified: 13 Jun 2021 00:30


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