Lifespan extension in C. elegans by a molecular chaperone dependent upon insulin-like signals

Aging Cell. 2003 Apr;2(2):131-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1474-9728.2003.00045.x.


Insulin-like signalling is a key determinate of lifespan in diverse species including mammals but the mechanism by which this pathway influences the rate of aging is unknown. In the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, mutations in the insulin-like signalling pathway extend adult lifespan and are associated with up-regulation of stress response genes including those for heat shock proteins (HSPs). We tested the hypothesis that the C. elegans insulin-like signalling pathway determines longevity through modulating HSP levels. We introduced extra copies of the gene encoding HSP-16 and this conferred stress resistance and longevity both in a wildtype and a long-lived mutant strain. The DAF-16 transcription factor is essential for maximal hsp-16 expression and for lifespan extension conferred by hsp-16. This demonstrates that lifespan is determined in part by insulin-like regulation of molecular chaperones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / physiology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Hot Temperature
  • Insulin
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Molecular Chaperones / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Transcription Factors
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans