- 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.
- A Genome-Wide Longitudinal Transcriptome Analysis of the Aging Model Podospora anserine (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.
- Age-related cellular copper dynamics in the fungal ageing model Podospora anserina and in ageing human fibroblasts (2009)
- In previous investigations an impact of cellular copper homeostasis on ageing of the ascomycete Podospora anserina has been demonstrated. Here we provide new data indicating that mitochondria play a major role in this process. Determination of copper in the cytosolic fraction using total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy analysis and eGfp reporter gene studies indicate an age-related increase of cytosolic copper levels. We show that components of the mitochondrial matrix (i.e. eGFP targeted to mitochondria) become released from the organelle during ageing. Decreasing the accessibility of mitochondrial copper in P. anserina via targeting a copper metallothionein to the mitochondrial matrix was found to result in a switch from a copper-dependent cytochrome-c oxidase to a copper-independent alternative oxidase type of respiration and results in lifespan extension. In addition, we demonstrate that increased copper concentrations in the culture medium lead to the appearance of senescence biomarkers in human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs). Significantly, expression of copper-regulated genes is induced during in vitro ageing in medium devoid of excess copper suggesting that cytosolic copper levels also increase during senescence of HDFs. These data suggest that the identified molecular pathway of age-dependent copper dynamics may not be restricted to P. anserina but may be conserved from lower eukaryotes to humans.
- Alternative oxidase dependent respiration leads to an increased mitochondrial content in two long-lived mutants of the aging model Podospora anserina (2011)
- The retrograde response constitutes an important signalling pathway from mitochondria to the nucleus which induces several genes to allow compensation of mitochondrial impairments. In the filamentous ascomycete Podospora anserina, an example for such a response is the induction of a nuclear-encoded and iron-dependent alternative oxidase (AOX) occurring when cytochrome-c oxidase (COX) dependent respiration is affected. Several long-lived mutants are known which predominantly or exclusively respire via AOX. Here we show that two AOX-utilising mutants, grisea and PaCox17::ble, are able to compensate partially for lowered OXPHOS efficiency resulting from AOX-dependent respiration by increasing mitochondrial content. At the physiological level this is demonstrated by an elevated oxygen consumption and increased heat production. However, in the two mutants, ATP levels do not reach WT levels. Interestingly, mutant PaCox17::ble is characterized by a highly increased release of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) hydrogen peroxide. Both grisea and PaCox17::ble contain elevated levels of mitochondrial proteins involved in quality control, i. e. LON protease and the molecular chaperone HSP60. Taken together, our work demonstrates that AOX-dependent respiration in two mutants of the ageing model P. anserina is linked to a novel mechanism involved in the retrograde response pathway, mitochondrial biogenesis, which might also play an important role for cellular maintenance in other organisms.
- Cellular models of aging (2012)
- De novo assembly of a 40 Mb eukaryotic genome from short sequence reads: Sordaria macrospora, a model organism for fungal morphogenesis (2010)
- Filamentous fungi are of great importance in ecology, agriculture, medicine, and biotechnology. Thus, it is not surprising that genomes for more than 100 filamentous fungi have been sequenced, most of them by Sanger sequencing. While next-generation sequencing techniques have revolutionized genome resequencing, e.g. for strain comparisons, genetic mapping, or transcriptome and ChIP analyses, de novo assembly of eukaryotic genomes still presents significant hurdles, because of their large size and stretches of repetitive sequences. Filamentous fungi contain few repetitive regions in their 30–90 Mb genomes and thus are suitable candidates to test de novo genome assembly from short sequence reads. Here, we present a high-quality draft sequence of the Sordaria macrospora genome that was obtained by a combination of Illumina/Solexa and Roche/454 sequencing. Paired-end Solexa sequencing of genomic DNA to 85-fold coverage and an additional 10-fold coverage by single-end 454 sequencing resulted in ~4 Gb of DNA sequence. Reads were assembled to a 40 Mb draft version (N50 of 117 kb) with the Velvet assembler. Comparative analysis with Neurospora genomes increased the N50 to 498 kb. The S. macrospora genome contains even fewer repeat regions than its closest sequenced relative, Neurospora crassa. Comparison with genomes of other fungi showed that S. macrospora, a model organism for morphogenesis and meiosis, harbors duplications of several genes involved in self/nonself-recognition. Furthermore, S. macrospora contains more polyketide biosynthesis genes than N. crassa. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that some of these genes may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer from a distantly related ascomycete group. Our study shows that, for typical filamentous fungi, de novo assembly of genomes from short sequence reads alone is feasible, that a mixture of Solexa and 454 sequencing substantially improves the assembly, and that the resulting data can be used for comparative studies to address basic questions of fungal biology.
- 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.
- 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.
- Impact papers on aging in 2009 (2010)
- The editorial board of Aging reviews research papers published in 2009,which they believe have or will have a significant impact on aging research.Among many others, the topics include genes that accelerate aging or incontrast promote longevity in model organisms, DNA damage responsesand telomeres, molecular mechanisms of life span extension by calorierestriction and pharmacologic interventions into aging. The emergingmessage in 2009 is that aging is not random but determined by agenetically-regulated longevity network and can be decelerated bothgenetically and pharmacologically.