Gap junctions in the C. elegans nervous system regulate ageing and lifespan

Nathalie Alexandra Vladis, Katharina Elisabeth Fischer, Eva Digalaki, Daniel-Cosmin Marcu, Modestos Nakos Bimpos, Peta Greer, Alice Ayres, Qiaochu Li and Karl Emanuel Busch

Jun 25, 2019

Received Date: 1st June 19

The nervous system is a central regulator of longevity, but how neuronal communication interfaces with ageing pathways is not well understood. Gap junctions are key conduits that allow voltage and metabolic signal transmission across cellular networks, yet it has remained unexplored whether they play a role in regulating ageing and longevity. We show that the innexin genes encoding gap junction subunits in Caenorhabditis elegans have extensive and diverse impacts on lifespan. Loss of the neural innexin unc-9 increases longevity by a third and also strongly benefits healthspan. Unc-9 acts specifically in a glutamatergic circuit linked to mechanosensation. Absence of unc-9 depends on a functional touch-sensing machinery to regulate lifespan and alters the age-dependent decline of mechanosensory neurons. The life extension produced by removal of unc-9 requires reactive oxygen species. Our work reveals for the first time that gap junctions are important regulators of ageing and lifespan.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature