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Reproductive Signals Affect Lifespan In Roundworm C. Elegans, Offering Possible Insight Into Human Aging Process

role by again manipulating DAF-16 and DAF-2 genes, which they did.

The authors also made another interesting finding: Their observations suggested that there may be more than one site on the DAF-2 gene to which signals that regulate lifespan can attach. One site appears to bind to hormones regulated by environmental signals, and the other appears to bind to hormones regulated by the activity of the somatic gonad. This suggests that at least two different hormones can affect lifespan by regulating DAF-2 activity.

The overall conclusion remains the same, however, Kenyon said: Like a rheostat, germ cell signals act on DAF-16, somatic gonad signals act on DAF-2, and their presence or absence is reflected in the down-regulation or up-regulation of the activity of the DAF-2 and DAF-16 proteins, which either increase or decrease life span. This fine balance could be affected by circumstances that affect the development of the reproductive system.

"Now we want to identify the signals that are produced by the reproductive system and to find out how their production is regulated." Ultimately the researchers would like to find out if the reproductive system's impact is universal for other organisms. "We'd like to look at mice and fruit flies," said Kenyon.

Ultimately, of course, they'd like to look in humans.


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Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jobrien@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
26-May-1999


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