Recent Discoveries in the Reproductive Control of Aging
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Reproduction is an energetically expensive endeavor that has profound influences on many life history traits, including the length of life. Reduced reproduction is associated with increased longevity in many organisms. Similarly, mating has been reported to shorten the lifespan of females in multiple species. Contemporary studies in model organisms have begun to unravel the molecular complexities that govern the relationship between reproduction and longevity. Here, we discuss recent discoveries that examine the genetic mechanisms by which two contrasting reproductive events—germline loss and successful mating—impact the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. We first describe genes necessary for the longevity associated with germline removal in C. elegans, with particular emphasis on microRNAs (miRNAs) that play essential roles in this paradigm. Next, we discuss current efforts toward molecular characterization of procreative interactions between different sexes that affect lifespan. Together, these studies illustrate how the same genetic pathways may be utilized by different sexes to exert behavioral and physiological changes in response to various reproductive events.
KeywordsReproduction Aging C. elegans microRNAs Mating Lifespan
SA Keith and A Ghazi both declare no conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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