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The AMP-activated protein kinase AAK-2 links energy levels and insulin-like signals to lifespan in C. elegans.

Apfeld J., O'Connor G., McDonagh T., DiStefano P.S., Curtis R.

Although limiting energy availability extends lifespan in many organisms, it is not understood how lifespan is coupled to energy levels. We find that the AMP:ATP ratio, a measure of energy levels, increases with age in Caenorhabditis elegans and can be used to predict life expectancy. The C. elegans AMP-activated protein kinase alpha subunit AAK-2 is activated by AMP and functions to extend lifespan. In addition, either an environmental stressor that increases the AMP:ATP ratio or mutations that lower insulin-like signaling extend lifespan in an aak-2-dependent manner. Thus, AAK-2 is a sensor that couples lifespan to information about energy levels and insulin-like signals.

Genes Dev. 18:3004-3009(2004) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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