The unfolded protein response reverses the effects of glucose on lifespan in chemically-sterilized C. elegans

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 19;13(1):5889. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33630-0.


Metabolic diseases often share common traits, including accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Upon ER stress, the unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated to limit cellular damage which weakens with age. Here, we show that Caenorhabditis elegans fed a bacterial diet supplemented high glucose at day 5 of adulthood (HGD-5) extends their lifespan, whereas exposed at day 1 (HGD-1) experience shortened longevity. We observed a metabolic shift only in HGD-1, while glucose and infertility synergistically prolonged the lifespan of HGD-5, independently of DAF-16. Notably, we identified that UPR stress sensors ATF-6 and PEK-1 contributed to the longevity of HGD-5 worms, while ire-1 ablation drastically increased HGD-1 lifespan. Together, we postulate that HGD activates the otherwise quiescent UPR in aged worms to overcome ageing-related stress and restore ER homeostasis. In contrast, young animals subjected to HGD provokes unresolved ER stress, conversely leading to a detrimental stress response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins* / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans* / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Longevity
  • Unfolded Protein Response


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Glucose