Environmental Temperature Differentially Modulates C. elegans Longevity through a Thermosensitive TRP Channel

Cell Rep. 2015 Jun 9;11(9):1414-24. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.04.066. Epub 2015 May 28.


Temperature profoundly affects aging in both poikilotherms and homeotherms. A general belief is that lower temperatures extend lifespan, whereas higher temperatures shorten it. Although this "temperature law" is widely accepted, it has not been extensively tested. Here, we systematically evaluated the role of temperature in lifespan regulation in C. elegans. We found that, although exposure to low temperatures at the adult stage prolongs lifespan, low-temperature treatment at the larval stage surprisingly reduces lifespan. Interestingly, this differential effect of temperature on longevity in larvae and adults is mediated by the same thermosensitive TRP channel TRPA-1 that signals to the transcription factor DAF-16/FOXO. DAF-16/FOXO and TRPA-1 act in larva to shorten lifespan but extend lifespan in adulthood. DAF-16/FOXO differentially regulates gene expression in larva and adult in a temperature-dependent manner. Our results uncover complexity underlying temperature modulation of longevity, demonstrating that temperature differentially regulates lifespan at different stages of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Environment*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Larva
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • TRPA1 Cation Channel
  • Temperature*
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • TRPA1 Cation Channel
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • daf-16 protein, C elegans
  • trpa-1 protein, C elegans

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE62297