Enhanced Energy Metabolism Contributes to the Extended Life Span of Calorie-restricted Caenorhabditis elegans

From the Department of Pharmacology and.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 07/2012; 287(37):31414-26. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.377275
Source: PubMed


Caloric restriction (CR) markedly extends life span and improves the health of a broad number of species. Energy metabolism fundamentally contributes to the beneficial effects of CR, but the underlying mechanisms that are responsible for this effect remain enigmatic. A multidisciplinary approach that involves quantitative proteomics, immunochemistry, metabolic quantification, and life span analysis was used to determine how CR, which occurs in the Caenorhabditis elegans eat-2 mutants, modifies energy metabolism of the worm, and whether the observed modifications contribute to the CR-mediated physiological responses. A switch to fatty acid metabolism as an energy source and an enhanced rate of energy metabolism by eat-2 mutant nematodes were detected. Life span analyses validated the important role of these previously unknown alterations of energy metabolism in the CR-mediated longevity of nematodes. As observed in mice, the overexpression of the gene for the nematode analog of the cytosolic form of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase caused a marked extension of the life span in C. elegans, presumably by enhancing energy metabolism via an altered rate of cataplerosis of tricarboxylic acid cycle anions. We conclude that an increase, not a decrease in fuel consumption, via an accelerated oxidation of fuels in the TCA cycle is involved in life span regulation; this mechanism may be conserved across phylogeny.

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    • "There has been a report of a large decrease in sdha-2 expression in long-lived dauer larvae [20], but another group found no change [19]. SDHA-2 protein levels were downregulated in long-lived eat-2 worms [38]. Sdha-1 expression levels were unchanged [20] or slightly decreased [19] in dauers, while F48E8.3 was strongly upregulated [19], [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Malate, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolite, increased lifespan and thermotolerance in the nematode Malate can be synthesized from fumarate by the enzyme fumarase and further oxidized to oxaloacetate by malate dehydrogenase with the accompanying reduction of NAD. Addition of fumarate also extended lifespan, but succinate addition did not, although all three intermediates activated nuclear translocation of the cytoprotective DAF-16/FOXO transcription factor and protected from paraquat-induced oxidative stress. The glyoxylate shunt, an anabolic pathway linked to lifespan extension in , reversibly converts isocitrate and acetyl-CoA to succinate, malate, and CoA. The increased longevity provided by malate addition did not occur in fumarase (), glyoxylate shunt (), succinate dehydrogenase flavoprotein (), or soluble fumarate reductase F48E8.3 RNAi knockdown worms. Therefore, to increase lifespan, malate must be first converted to fumarate, then fumarate must be reduced to succinate by soluble fumarate reductase and the mitochondrial electron transport chain complex II. Reduction of fumarate to succinate is coupled with the oxidation of FADH to FAD. Lifespan extension induced by malate depended upon the longevity regulators DAF-16 and SIR-2.1. Malate supplementation did not extend the lifespan of long-lived mutant worms, a model of dietary restriction. Malate and fumarate addition increased oxygen consumption, but decreased ATP levels and mitochondrial membrane potential suggesting a mild uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation. Malate also increased NADPH, NAD, and the NAD/NADH ratio. Fumarate reduction, glyoxylate shunt activity, and mild mitochondrial uncoupling likely contribute to the lifespan extension induced by malate and fumarate by increasing the amount of oxidized NAD and FAD cofactors.
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    ABSTRACT: Although dietary restriction (DR) is known to extend lifespan across species, from yeast to mammals, the signalling events downstream of food/nutrient perception are not well understood. In Caenorhabditis elegans, DR is typically attained either by using the eat-2 mutants that have reduced pharyngeal pumping leading to lower food intake or by feeding diluted bacterial food to the worms. In this study, we show that knocking down a mammalian MEKK3-like kinase gene, mekk-3 in C. elegans, initiates a process similar to DR without compromising food intake. This DR-like state results in upregulation of beta-oxidation genes through the nuclear hormone receptor NHR-49, a HNF-4 homolog, resulting in depletion of stored fat. This metabolic shift leads to low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), potent oxidizing agents that damage macromolecules. Increased beta-oxidation, in turn, induces the phase I and II xenobiotic detoxification genes, through PHA-4/FOXA, NHR-8 and aryl hydrocarbon receptor AHR-1, possibly to purge lipophilic endotoxins generated during fatty acid catabolism. The coupling of a metabolic shift with endotoxin detoxification results in extreme longevity following mekk-3 knock-down. Thus, MEKK-3 may function as an important nutrient sensor and signalling component within the organism that controls metabolism. Knocking down mekk-3 may signal an imminent nutrient crisis that results in initiation of a DR-like state, even when food is plentiful.
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