- Deceleration of fusion–fission cycles improves mitochondrial quality control during aging (2012)
- Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy play a key role in ensuring mitochondrial quality control. Impairment thereof was proposed to be causative to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Accumulation of mitochondrial dysfunction was further linked to aging. Here we applied a probabilistic modeling approach integrating our current knowledge on mitochondrial biology allowing us to simulate mitochondrial function and quality control during aging in silico. We demonstrate that cycles of fusion and fission and mitophagy indeed are essential for ensuring a high average quality of mitochondria, even under conditions in which random molecular damage is present. Prompted by earlier observations that mitochondrial fission itself can cause a partial drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, we tested the consequences of mitochondrial dynamics being harmful on its own. Next to directly impairing mitochondrial function, pre-existing molecular damage may be propagated and enhanced across the mitochondrial population by content mixing. In this situation, such an infection-like phenomenon impairs mitochondrial quality control progressively. However, when imposing an age-dependent deceleration of cycles of fusion and fission, we observe a delay in the loss of average quality of mitochondria. This provides a rational why fusion and fission rates are reduced during aging and why loss of a mitochondrial fission factor can extend life span in fungi. We propose the ‘mitochondrial infectious damage adaptation’ (MIDA) model according to which a deceleration of fusion–fission cycles reflects a systemic adaptation increasing life span.
- A differential genome-wide transcriptome analysis: impact of cellular copper on complex biological processes like aging and development (2012)
- The regulation of cellular copper homeostasis is crucial in biology. Impairments lead to severe dysfunctions and are known to affect aging and development. Previously, a loss-of-function mutation in the gene encoding the copper-sensing and copper-regulated transcription factor GRISEA of the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina was reported to lead to cellular copper depletion and a pleiotropic phenotype with hypopigmentation of the mycelium and the ascospores, affected fertility and increased lifespan by approximately 60% when compared to the wild type. This phenotype is linked to a switch from a copper-dependent standard to an alternative respiration leading to both a reduced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). We performed a genome-wide comparative transcriptome analysis of a wild-type strain and the copper-depleted grisea mutant. We unambiguously assigned 9,700 sequences of the transcriptome in both strains to the more than 10,600 predicted and annotated open reading frames of the P. anserina genome indicating 90% coverage of the transcriptome. 4,752 of the transcripts differed significantly in abundance with 1,156 transcripts differing at least 3-fold. Selected genes were investigated by qRT-PCR analyses. Apart from this general characterization we analyzed the data with special emphasis on molecular pathways related to the grisea mutation taking advantage of the available complete genomic sequence of P. anserina. This analysis verified but also corrected conclusions from earlier data obtained by single gene analysis, identified new candidates of factors as part of the cellular copper homeostasis system including target genes of transcription factor GRISEA, and provides a rich reference source of quantitative data for further in detail investigations. Overall, the present study demonstrates the importance of systems biology approaches also in cases were mutations in single genes are analyzed to explain the underlying mechanisms controlling complex biological processes like aging and development.
- PaCATB, a secreted catalase protecting Podospora anserina against exogenous oxidative stress (2011)
- A differential mass spectrometry analysis of secreted proteins from juvenile and senescentPodospora anserina cultures revealed age-related differences in protein profiles. Among other proteins with decreased abundance in the secretome of senescent cultures a catalase, termed PaCATB, was identified. Genetic modulation of the abundance of PaCATB identified differential effects on the phenotype of the corresponding strains. Deletion of PaCatB resulted in decreased resistance, over-expression in increased resistance against hydrogen peroxide. While the lifespan of the genetically modified strains was found to be unaffected under standard growth conditions, increased exogenous hydrogen peroxide stress in the growth medium markedly reduced the lifespan of the PaCatB deletion strain but extended the lifespan of PaCatB over-expressors. Overall our data identify a component of the secretome of P. anserina as a new effective factor to cope with environmental stress, stress that under natural conditions is constantly applied on organisms and influences aging processes.
- Human CLPP reverts the longevity phenotype of a fungal ClpP deletion strain (2013)
- Mitochondrial maintenance crucially depends on the quality control of proteins by various chaperones, proteases and repair enzymes. While most of the involved components have been studied in some detail, little is known on the biological role of the CLPXP protease complex located in the mitochondrial matrix. Here we show that deletion of PaClpP, encoding the CLP protease proteolytic subunit CLPP, leads to an unexpected healthy phenotype and increased lifespan of the fungal ageing model organism Podospora anserina. This phenotype can be reverted by expression of human ClpP in the fungal deletion background, demonstrating functional conservation of human and fungal CLPP. Our results show that the biological role of eukaryotic CLP proteases can be studied in an experimentally accessible model organism.
- Cellular models of aging (2012)
- Unmasking a temperature-dependent effect of the P. anserina i-AAA protease on aging and development (2011)
- Different molecular pathways involved in maintaining mitochondrial function are of fundamental importance to control cellular homeostasis. Mitochondrial i-AAA protease is part of such a surveillance system, and PaIAP is the putative ortholog in the fungal aging model Podospora anserina. Here, we investigate the role of PaIAP in aging and development. Deletion of the gene encoding PaIAP resulted in a specific phenotype. When incubated at 27°C, spore germination and fruiting body formation are not different from that of the corresponding wild-type strain. Unexpectedly, the lifespan of the deletion strain is strongly increased. In contrast, cultivation at an elevated temperature of 37°C leads to impairments in spore germination and fruiting body formation and to a reduced lifespan. The higher PaIAP abundance in wild-type strains of the fungus grown at elevated temperature and the phenotype of the deletion strain unmasks a temperature-related role of the protein. The protease appears to be part of a molecular system that has evolved to allow survival under changing temperatures, as they characteristically occur in nature.
- A genome-wide longitudinal transcriptome analysis of the aging model Podospora anserina (2013)
- Aging of biological systems is controlled by various processes which have a potential impact on gene expression. Here we report a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of the fungal aging model Podospora anserina. Total RNA of three individuals of defined age were pooled and analyzed by SuperSAGE (serial analysis of gene expression). A bioinformatics analysis identified different molecular pathways to be affected during aging. While the abundance of transcripts linked to ribosomes and to the proteasome quality control system were found to decrease during aging, those associated with autophagy increase, suggesting that autophagy may act as a compensatory quality control pathway. Transcript profiles associated with the energy metabolism including mitochondrial functions were identified to fluctuate during aging. Comparison of wild-type transcripts, which are continuously down-regulated during aging, with those down-regulated in the long-lived, copper-uptake mutant grisea, validated the relevance of age-related changes in cellular copper metabolism. Overall, we (i) present a unique age-related data set of a longitudinal study of the experimental aging model P. anserina which represents a reference resource for future investigations in a variety of organisms, (ii) suggest autophagy to be a key quality control pathway that becomes active once other pathways fail, and (iii) present testable predictions for subsequent experimental investigations.