Podospora anserina is a filamentous fungus with a limited life span. Life span is controlled by nuclear and extranuclear genetic traits. Herein we report the nature of four alterations in the nuclear gene grisea that lead to an altered morphology, a defect in the formation of female gametangia, and an increased life span. Three sequence changes are located in the 5' upstream region of the grisea ORF. One mutation is a G --> A transition at the 5' splice site of the single intron of the gene, leading to a RNA splicing defect. This loss-of-function affects the amplification of the first intron of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) and the specific mitochondrial DNA rearrangements that occur during senescence of wild-type strains. Our results indicate that the nuclear gene grisea is part of a molecular machinery involved in the control of mitochondrial DNA reorganizations. These DNA instabilities accelerate but are not a prerequisite for the aging of P. anserina cultures.