Long Live Collagen

Increased collagen expression is a common feature of many different pathways to extended longevity in worms.

Ashley P. Taylor
Mar 1, 2015

AGING WORMS: Young (left) and old (right) specimens of the nematode C. elegansCOURTESY OF KEITH BLACKWELL

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

The paper
C.Y. Ewald et al., “Dauer-independent insulin/IGF-1-signalling implicates collagen remodelling in longevity,” Nature, doi:10.1038/nature14021, 2014.

The impetus
One of the earliest observations about longevity in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a choice model organism for aging research, was that the worms live longer when the insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 pathway is disrupted. This disruption normally sends worms into a hibernation-like state, called dauer, which increases life span by inserting a pause into the life cycle. Keith Blackwell of Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center and colleagues wondered if blocking the insulin/IGF1 pathway could increase life span even without this hiatus.

The results
To this end, the researchers reduced the insulin/IGF1 pathway at temperatures that block entry into the dauer state, and the worms still lived longer. The team...