Menu

Mitochondrial Networks Explain Why Caloric Restriction Extends Worms’ Lives

Maintaining dynamic connections among the body’s mitochondria is required for the health and life-extending benefits of low-calorie diets for nematodes.

Nov 7, 2017
Jef Akst

ISTOCK, WIR0MANC. elegans with a restricted diet live longer than worms with an unrestricted diet, thanks to optimal connections among their mitochondria, according to a study published last month (October 26) in Cell Metabolism. The same was true for those worms whose AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a key player in cellular energy processing, was genetically blocked, mimicking dietary restriction.

Critical to this increased lifespan, the researchers found, were organelles called peroxisomes, which contribute to the oxidation of fatty acids inside the cell. The results provide a clue regarding the observed health benefits of periodic fasting.

See “Running on Empty

“Low-energy conditions such as dietary restriction and intermittent fasting have previously been shown to promote healthy aging,” lead author Heather Weir, who conducted the research while at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and is now a research associate at Astex Pharmaceuticals, tells the Harvard Gazette. “Understanding why this is the case is a crucial step toward being able to harness the benefits therapeutically.”

Mitochondria exist in networks that alternate between “fused” and “fragmented” states, which affect how the organelles process energy. This dynamic fission and fusion of mitochondria has been linked to aging, and the new study provides two key players—AMPK and peroxisomes—in orchestrating those fluctuating connections and their effect on organismal health and senescence. 

“Although previous work has shown how intermittent fasting can slow aging, we are only beginning to understand the underlying biology,” senior author William Mair, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard Chan School, tells the Harvard Gazette. “Our work shows how crucial the plasticity of mitochondria networks is for the benefits of fasting. If we lock mitochondria in one state, we completely block the effects of fasting or dietary restriction on longevity.”

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.