Regulation of Life-Span by Germ-Line Stem Cells in Caenorhabditis elegans

Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 502-505
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065768

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The germ line of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegansinfluences life-span; when the germ-line precursor cells are removed, life-span is increased dramatically. We find that neither sperm, nor oocytes, nor meiotic precursor cells are responsible for this effect. Rather life-span is influenced by the proliferating germ-line stem cells. These cells, as well as a downstream transcriptional regulator, act in the adult to influence aging, indicating that the aging process remains plastic during adulthood. We propose that the germ-line stem cells affect life-span by influencing the production of, or the response to, a steroid hormone that promotes longevity.

  • * Present address: Exelixis, Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94083, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ckenyon{at}

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