Stress tolerance and lifespan in C. elegans are modulated by natural allelic variation in CMK-1

L.B. Snoek, M.G. Sterken, R.P.J. Bevers, J.M. Volkers, A. van 't Hof, R. Brenchley, B. Lehner, A. Cossins, J.E. Kammenga

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Genetic control of aging in C. elegans has primarily been studied using
derived mutants of the strain N2. These mutants often display extreme
lifespan accompanied by increased stress resistance. Yet, identification of
genes that underlie variation in lifespan and stress tolerance in natural
populations remains a major challenge. We investigated gene expression
architecture and longevity and found that stress tolerance and lifespan in C.
elegans are modulated by natural allelic variation in cmk-1.
Variation in gene expression levels was linked to genomic loci (eQTL)
using fully sequenced recombinant inbred populations derived from
divergent wild-type strains N2 and CB4856. In these strains regulatory loci
were identified under standard and under heat-stress conditions. After
verification, the causal regulator was identified by screening knock-out
mutants of candidate genes. Moreover, lifespan was measured under
standard conditions and in strains that received a heat shock treatment.
We identified a major stress-related regulatory locus that affects expression
variation in more than 100 genes and one of the causal genes was found to
be cmk-1. The effects of this variation include modulation of insulin-like
signaling targets supporting a model in which allelic variation in cmk-1
regulates a subset of daf-16 targets under stress conditions, leading to
increased stress resistance and prolonged lifespan.
In conclusion, genes affecting lifespan variation in nature may not be those
identified by mutagenizing a single C. elegans strain. Our data suggests that
pathways previously associated with aging are affected, but not by the usual
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016
EventEvolutionary Biology of Caenorhabditis and other nematodes - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, United States
Duration: 30 Mar 20162 Apr 2016


ConferenceEvolutionary Biology of Caenorhabditis and other nematodes
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCold Spring Harbor


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