The use of genetics has been invaluable in defining the complex mechanisms of aging and longevity. Zebrafish, while a prominent model for vertebrate development, have not been used systematically to address questions of how and why we age. In a mutagenesis screen focusing on late developmental phenotypes, we identified a new mutant that displays aging phenotypes at young adult stages. We find that the phenotypes are due to loss-of-function in the non-classical cadherin celsr1a. The premature aging is not associated with increased cellular senescence or telomere length but is a result of a failure to maintain progenitor cell populations. We show that celsr1a is essential for maintenance of stem cell progenitors in late stages. Caloric restriction can ameliorate celsr1a aging phenotypes. These data suggest that celsr1a function helps to mediate stem cell maintenance during maturation and homeostasis of tissues and thus regulates the onset or expressivity of aging phenotypes.
Keywords: aging; developmental biology; genetics; genomics; planar cell polarity; progeria; stem cells; zebrafish.
© 2020, Li et al.