Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Biology and BioMed Central.

Journal App

google play app store
Open Access Research article

Disruption of insulin signalling preserves bioenergetic competence of mitochondria in ageing Caenorhabditis elegans

Kristel Brys, Natascha Castelein, Filip Matthijssens, Jacques R Vanfleteren and Bart P Braeckman*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, Ghent University, K L Ledeganckstraat 35, Ghent B-9000, Belgium

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biology 2010, 8:91  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-91

Published: 28 June 2010

Abstract

Background

The gene daf-2 encodes the single insulin/insulin growth factor-1-like receptor of Caenorhabditis elegans. The reduction-of-function allele e1370 induces several metabolic alterations and doubles lifespan.

Results

We found that the e1370 mutation alters aerobic energy production substantially. In wild-type worms the abundance of key mitochondrial proteins declines with age, accompanied by a dramatic decrease in energy production, although the mitochondrial mass, inferred from the mitochondrial DNA copy number, remains unaltered. In contrast, the age-dependent decrease of both key mitochondrial proteins and bioenergetic competence is considerably attenuated in daf-2(e1370) adult animals. The increase in daf-2(e1370) mitochondrial competence is associated with a higher membrane potential and increased reactive oxygen species production, but with little damage to mitochondrial protein or DNA. Together these results point to a higher energetic efficiency of daf-2(e1370) animals.

Conclusions

We conclude that low daf-2 function alters the overall rate of ageing by a yet unidentified mechanism with an indirect protective effect on mitochondrial function.