Mating Induces Shrinking and Death in Caenorhabditis Mothers

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Science  19 Dec 2013:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1242958

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Interactions between the germline and the soma help optimize reproductive success. We discovered a new phenomenon linking reproductive status to longevity: in both hermaphroditic and gonochoristic Caenorhabditis, mating leads to female shrinking and death, compressing post-reproductive lifespan. Male sperm induces germline- and DAF-9/DAF-12-dependent shrinking, osmotic stress susceptibility, and subsequent lifespan decrease, while seminal fluid induces DAF-16-dependent lifespan decrease and fat loss. Our study provides new insight into the communication between males and the female germline and soma to regulate reproduction and longevity, revealing a high-reproduction/low lifespan state induced by mating. Post-mating somatic collapse may be an example of the sexually antagonistic influence that males in many species exert on female behavior to maximize their own reproductive success.

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