Recent research using model organisms such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has highlighted a crucial role for several conserved signaling pathways in longevity determination. Here, we review three major endocrine- and nutrient-sensing signaling pathways with influence on lifespan, the insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF), target of rapamycin (TOR), and germline signaling pathways. Although these pathways engage distinct sets of transcription factors, the three pathways appear to modulate aging in C. elegans through partially overlapping effector mechanisms, including lipid metabolism and autophagy. This review highlights the latest advances in our understanding of how the insulin/IGF-1, TOR, and germline signaling pathways utilize different transcription factors to modulate aging in C. elegans with special emphasis on the role of lipid metabolism and autophagy.
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