The mitochondrial protein complex prohibitin promotes longevity in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans by influencing fat metabolism, a Nature paper suggests.
Prohibitin deficiency shortens the lifespan of otherwise wild-type animals, Marta Artal-Sanz and Nektarios Tavernarakis report. But 'knocking down' prohibitin levels increases the lifespan of worms under dietary restriction.
The authors propose that prohibitin normally promotes longevity by acting as a brake on the worm's energy supply - moderating fat use and energy production. But under adverse external conditions, such as limited nutrient availability, energy demands outstrip supply and life lasts longer without such a 'brake'. It is thought that the protein may have a similar key role in modulating energy metabolism during ageing in mammals.
Nektarios Tavernarakis (Foundation for Research & Technology, Heraklion, Greece)
(C) Nature press release.
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