Hwang AB, Ryu EA, Artan M, Chang HW, Kabir MH, Nam HJ, Lee D, Yang JS, Kim S, Mair WB, Lee C, Lee SS, Lee SJ. 2014. Feedback regulation via AMPK and HIF-1 mediates ROS-dependent longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111(42):E4458-67. Pubmed: 25288734 DOI:10.1073/pnas.1411199111


Mild inhibition of mitochondrial respiration extends the lifespan of many species. In Caenorhabditis elegans, reactive oxygen species (ROS) promote longevity by activating hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) in response to reduced mitochondrial respiration. However, the physiological role and mechanism of ROS-induced longevity are poorly understood. Here, we show that a modest increase in ROS increases the immunity and lifespan of C. elegans through feedback regulation by HIF-1 and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We found that activation of AMPK as well as HIF-1 mediates the longevity response to ROS. We further showed that AMPK reduces internal levels of ROS, whereas HIF-1 amplifies the levels of internal ROS under conditions that increase ROS. Moreover, mitochondrial ROS increase resistance to various pathogenic bacteria, suggesting a possible association between immunity and long lifespan. Thus, AMPK and HIF-1 may control immunity and longevity tightly by acting as feedback regulators of ROS.

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Will Mair investigates the molecular pathways underpinning the aging process, with the goal of using this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat age-onset disorders.

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