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Thermotolerance of a long-lived mutant of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Lithgow GJ;White TM;Hinerfeld DA;Johnson TE

Citation: Journal of Gerontology 49: B270-B276 1994


Genes: age-1 fer-15

Abstract: Age-synchronous cohorts of Caenorhabditis elegans were grown at 20C, then stressed at 30C or 35C. Intrinsic thermotolerance of wild type and age-1 mutant strains was assessed by measuring either progeny production or survival. In addition to increased life span (Age), mutation of age-1 results in a highly significant increased intrinsic thermotolerance (Itt) as measured by survival at 35C. Mean survival of Age strains is approximately 45% longer than that of non-Age strains for both sterile and non-sterile worms. Thermotolerance declines across the life span of both Age and non-Age strains, but Itt was observed at almost all ages. Unstressed age-1 animals showed a consistent and significant fertility deficit. Short thermal stresses can cause a dramatic reduction in progeny production for both Age and non-Age genotypes. Mutants of age-1 showed a small but consistent increased thermotolerance as measured by fertility. We propose that the enhanced ability of Age strains to cope with environmental stress may be mechanistically related to their lower age-specific mortality rates.