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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001 Jul;56(7):B281-7
School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
We present evidence for elevated levels of heat shock protein 16 (HSP16) in an intrinsically thermotolerant, long-lived strain of Caenorhabditis elegans during and after heat stress. Mutation of the age-1 gene, encoding a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit, results in both extended life span (Age) and increased intrinsic thermotolerance (Itt) in adult hermaphrodites. We subjected age-synchronous cohorts of worms to lethal and nonlethal thermal stress and observed the accumulation of a small (16-18 kd) heat-shock-specific polypeptide detected by an antibody raised against C. elegans HSP16. Strains carrying the mutation hx546 consistently accumulated HSP16 to higher levels than a wild-type strain. Significantly, overaccumulation of HSP16 in the age-1(hx546) strain following heat was observed throughout the adult life span. A chimeric transgene containing the Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase gene fused to a C. elegans HSP16-41 transcriptional promoter was introduced into wild-type and age-1(hx546) backgrounds. Heat-inducible expression of the transgene was elevated in the age-1(hx546) strain compared with the wild-type strain under a wide variety of heat shock and recovery conditions. These observations are consistent with a model in which Age mutations exhibit thermotolerance and extended life span as a result of elevated levels of molecular chaperones.