[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A functional decline in tissue stem cells and mitochondrial dysfunction have each been linked to aging and multiple aging-associated pathologies. However, the interplay between energy homeostasis, stem cells, and organismal aging remains poorly understood. Here, we report that expression of the single-subunit yeast alternative NADH dehydrogenase,ndi1, in Drosophila intestinal stem and progenitor cells delays the onset of multiple markers of intestinal aging and extends lifespan. In addition, expression of ndi1 in the intestine increases feeding behavior and results in organismal weight gain. Consistent with increased nutrient uptake, flies expressing ndi1 in the digestive tract display a systemic reduction in the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a key cellular energy sensor. Together, these results demonstrate that ndi1 expression in the intestinal epithelium is an effective strategy to delay tissue and organismal aging.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammals, the PGC-1 transcriptional coactivators are key regulators of energy metabolism, including mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration, which have been implicated in numerous pathogenic conditions, including neurodegeneration and cardiomyopathy. Here, we show that overexpression of the Drosophila PGC-1 homolog (dPGC-1/spargel) is sufficient to increase mitochondrial activity. Moreover, tissue-specific overexpression of dPGC-1 in stem and progenitor cells within the digestive tract extends life span. Long-lived flies overexpressing dPGC-1 display a delay in the onset of aging-related changes in the intestine, leading to improved tissue homeostasis in old flies. Together, these results demonstrate that dPGC-1 can slow aging both at the level of cellular changes in an individual tissue and also at the organismal level by extending life span. Our findings point to the possibility that alterations in PGC-1 activity in high-turnover tissues, such as the intestine, may be an important determinant of longevity in mammals.