Stressful environments can indirectly select for increased longevity.
ABSTRACT: Longevity is modulated by a range of conserved genes in eukaryotes, but it is unclear how variation in these genes contributes to the evolution of longevity in nature. Mutations that increase life span in model organisms typically induce trade-offs which lead to a net reduction in fitness, suggesting that such mutations are unlikely to become established in natural populations. However, the fitness consequences of manipulating longevity have rarely been assessed in heterogeneous environments, in which stressful conditions are encountered. Using laboratory selection experiments, we demonstrate that long-lived, stress-resistant Caenorhabditis elegans age-1(hx546) mutants have higher fitness than the wild-type genotype if mixed genotype populations are periodically exposed to high temperatures when food is not limited. We further establish, using stochastic population projection models, that the age-1(hx546) mutant allele can confer a selective advantage if temperature stress is encountered when food availability also varies over time. Our results indicate that heterogeneity in environmental stress may lead to altered allele frequencies over ecological timescales and indirectly drive the evolution of longevity. This has important implications for understanding the evolution of life-history strategies.
Project description:Evolutionary theory of ageing maintains that increased allocation to early-life reproduction results in reduced somatic maintenance, which is predicted to compromise longevity and late-life reproduction. This prediction has been challenged by the discovery of long-lived mutants with no loss of fecundity. The first such long-lived mutant was found in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans Specifically, partial loss-of-function mutation in the age-1 gene, involved in the nutrient-sensing insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling pathway, confers longevity, as well as increased resistance to pathogens and to temperature stress without appreciable fitness detriment. Here, we show that the long-lived age-1(hx546) mutant has reduced fecundity and offspring production in early-life, but increased fecundity, hatching success, and offspring production in late-life compared with wild-type worms under standard conditions. However, reduced early-life performance of long-lived mutant animals was not fully compensated by improved performance in late-life and resulted in reduced individual fitness. These results suggest that the age-1(hx546) allele has opposing effects on early-life versus late-life fitness in accordance with antagonistic pleiotropy (AP) and disposable soma theories of ageing. These findings support the theoretical conjecture that experimental studies based on standing genetic variation underestimate the importance of AP in the evolution of ageing.
Project description:Two age-1 nonsense mutants, truncating the class-I phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit (PI3K(CS)) before its kinase domain, confer extraordinary longevity and stress-resistance to Caenorhabditis elegans. These traits, unique to second-generation homozygotes, are blunted at the first generation and are largely reversed by additional mutations to DAF-16/FOXO, a transcription factor downstream of AGE-1 in insulin-like signaling. The strong age-1 alleles (mg44, m333) were compared with the weaker hx546 allele on expression microarrays, testing four independent cohorts of each allele. Among 276 genes with significantly differential expression, 92% showed fewer transcripts in adults carrying strong age-1 alleles rather than hx546. This proportion is significantly greater than the slight bias observed when contrasting age-1 alleles to wild-type worms. Thus, transcriptional changes peculiar to nonsense alleles primarily involve either gene silencing or failure of transcriptional activation. A subset of genes responding preferentially to age-1-nonsense alleles was reassessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction, in worms bearing strong or weak age-1 alleles; nearly all of these were significantly more responsive to the age-1(mg44) allele than to age-1(hx546). Additional mutation of daf-16 reverted the majority of altered mg44-F2 expression levels to approximately wild-type values, although a substantial number of genes remained significantly distinct from wild-type, implying that age-1(mg44) modulates transcription through both DAF-16/FOXO-dependent and -independent channels. When age-1-inhibited genes were targeted by RNA interference (RNAi) in wild-type or age-1(hx546) adults, most conferred significant oxidative-stress protection. RNAi constructs targeting two of those genes were shown previously to extend life, and RNAi's targeting five novel genes were found here to increase lifespan. PI3K-null mutants may thus implicate novel mechanisms of life extension.
Project description:Insulin signaling has a profound effect on longevity and the oxidative stress resistance of animals. Inhibition of insulin signaling results in the activation of DAF-16/FOXO and SKN-1/Nrf transcription factors and increased animal fitness. By studying the biological functions of the endogenous RNA interference factor RDE-4 and conserved PHD zinc finger protein ZFP-1 (AF10), which regulate overlapping sets of genes in Caenorhabditis elegans, we identified an important role for these factors in the negative modulation of transcription of the insulin/PI3 signaling-dependent kinase PDK-1. Consistently, increased expression of pdk-1 in zfp-1 and rde-4 mutants contributed to their reduced lifespan and sensitivity to oxidative stress and pathogens due to the reduction in the expression of DAF-16 and SKN-1 targets. We found that the function of ZFP-1 in modulating pdk-1 transcription was important for the extended lifespan of the age-1(hx546) reduction-of-function PI3 kinase mutant, since the lifespan of the age-1; zfp-1 double mutant strain was significantly shorter compared to age-1(hx546). We further demonstrate that overexpression of ZFP-1 caused an increased resistance to oxidative stress in a DAF-16-dependent manner. Our findings suggest that epigenetic regulation of key upstream signaling components in signal transduction pathways through chromatin and RNAi may have a large impact on the outcome of signaling and expression of numerous downstream genes.
Project description:Natural selection acts to maximize reproductive fitness. However, antagonism between life span and reproductive success frequently poses a dilemma pitting the cost of fecundity against longevity. Here, we show that natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster harbor a Hoppel transposon insertion variant in the longevity gene Indy (I'm not dead yet), which confers both increased reproduction and longevity through metabolic changes. Heterozygosity for this natural long-lived variant has been maintained in isolates despite long-term inbreeding under laboratory conditions and advantageously confers increased fecundity. DNA sequences of variant chromosome isolates show evidence of selective sweep acting on the advantageous allele, suggesting that natural selection acts to maintain this variant. The transposon insertion also regulates Indy expression level, which has experimentally been shown to affect life span and fecundity. Thus, in the wild, evolution reaffirms that the mechanism of heterozygote advantage has acted upon the Indy gene to assure increased reproductive fitness and, coincidentally, longer life span through regulatory transposon mutagenesis.
Project description:Parasite species often show differential fitness on different host species. We developed an equation-based model to explore conditions favouring host species exploitation and discrimination. In our model, diploid infective stages randomly encountered hosts of two species; the parasite's relative fitness in exploiting each host species, and its ability to discriminate between them, was determined by the parasite's genotype at two independent diallelic loci. Relative host species frequency determined allele frequencies at the exploitation locus, whereas differential fitness and combined host density determined frequency of discrimination alleles. The model predicts instances where populations contain mixes of discriminatory and non-discriminatory infective stages. Also, non-discriminatory parasites should evolve when differential fitness is low to moderate and when combined host densities are low, but not so low as to cause parasite extinction. A corollary is that parasite discrimination (and host-specificity) increases with higher combined host densities. Instances in nature where parasites fail to discriminate when differential fitness is extreme could be explained by one host species evolving resistance, following from earlier selection for parasite non-discrimination. Similar results overall were obtained for haploid extensions of the model. Our model emulates multi-host associations and has implications for understanding broadening of host species ranges by parasites.This article is part of the themed issue 'Opening the black box: re-examining the ecology and evolution of parasite transmission'.
Project description:There has been significant controversy whether stressful life events (SLEs) experienced over the lifespan may elevate the risk of depression in individuals who are homozygous for the short (S) allele of the repeat length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the regulatory region of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4), compared with individuals homozygous for the long (L) allele. On the basis of the hypothesis that age may be a critical variable, by which such a gene-by-environment interaction may be present in younger adults, but not in older adults and in children, aim of this study was to investigate the role of 5-HTTLPR and SLEs on the endocrine stress response in multiple age cohorts. A total of 115 children (8-12 years), 106 younger adults (18-31 years), and 99 older adults (54-68 years) were subjected to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and structured interviews on SLEs. The TSST induced significant endocrine stress responses in all groups. There was a main effect of genotype in younger and older adults with individuals homozygous for the more active L allele showing a significantly larger cortisol response to the TSST than individuals carrying at least one of the low-expressing S alleles. As predicted, there was a significant interaction of 5-HTTLPR genotype and SLEs, but this interaction was only significant in younger adults and only when the measured SLEs had occurred during the first 5 years of life, suggesting that both age and the specific type of SLE has a role in whether a significant gene-environment interaction is observed.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Clock genes govern circadian rhythms and shape the effect of alcohol use on the physiological system. Exposure to severe negative life events is related to both heavy drinking and disturbed circadian rhythmicity. The aim of this study was 1) to extend previous findings suggesting an association of a haplotype tagging single nucleotide polymorphism of PER2 gene with drinking patterns, and 2) to examine a possible role for an interaction of this gene with life stress in hazardous drinking. METHODS: Data were collected as part of an epidemiological cohort study on the outcome of early risk factors followed since birth. At age 19 years, 268 young adults (126 males, 142 females) were genotyped for PER2 rs56013859 and were administered a 45-day alcohol timeline follow-back interview and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Life stress was assessed as the number of severe negative life events during the past four years reported in a questionnaire and validated by interview. RESULTS: Individuals with the minor G allele of rs56013859 were found to be less engaged in alcohol use, drinking at only 72% of the days compared to homozygotes for the major A allele. Moreover, among regular drinkers, a gene x environment interaction emerged (p?=?.020). While no effects of genotype appeared under conditions of low stress, carriers of the G allele exhibited less hazardous drinking than those homozygous for the A allele when exposed to high stress. CONCLUSIONS: These findings may suggest a role of the circadian rhythm gene PER2 in both the drinking patterns of young adults and in moderating the impact of severe life stress on hazardous drinking in experienced alcohol users. However, in light of the likely burden of multiple tests, the nature of the measures used and the nominal evidence of interaction, replication is needed before drawing firm conclusions.
Project description:Reduced fecundity has been associated with some alleles that enhance longevity in invertebrate and mammalian models. This observation has been suggested to support the antagonistic pleiotropy theory of aging, which predicts that alleles of some genes promoting fitness early in life have detrimental effects later in life that limit survival. In only a few cases, however, has the relative fitness of long-lived mutants been quantified through direct competition with the wild type genotype. Here we report the first comprehensive analysis of longevity/fitness trade-offs by measuring the relative fitness of 49 long-lived yeast variants in a direct competition assay with wild type cells. We find that 32 (65%) of these variants show a significant defect in fitness in this competition assay. In 26 (81%) of these cases, this reduction in fitness can be partially accounted for by reduced maximal growth rate during early life, usually resulting from a G0/G1-specific cell cycle defect. A majority of the less fit longevity-enhancing variants are associated with reduced mRNA translation. These findings are therefore consistent with the idea that enhanced longevity often comes with a fitness cost and suggest that this cost is often associated with variation in a subset of longevity factors, such as those regulating mRNA translation, growth, and reproduction.
Project description:Microbial evolution experiments offer a powerful approach for coupling changes in complex phenotypes, including fitness and its components, with specific mutations. Here we investigate mutations substituted in 15 lines of Escherichia coli that evolved for 1000 generations under freeze-thaw-growth (FTG) conditions. To investigate the genetic basis of their improvements, we screened many of the lines for mutations involving insertion sequence (IS) elements and identified two genes where multiple lines had similar mutations. Three lines had IS150 insertions in cls, which encodes cardiolipin synthase, and 8 lines had IS150 insertions in the uspA-uspB intergenic region, encoding two universal stress proteins. Another line had an 11-bp deletion mutation in the cls gene. Strain reconstructions and competitions demonstrated that this deletion is beneficial under the FTG regime in its evolved genetic background. Further experiments showed that this cls mutation helps maintain membrane fluidity after freezing and thawing and improves freeze-thaw (FT) survival. Reconstruction of isogenic strains also showed that the IS150 insertions in uspA/B are beneficial under the FTG regime. The evolved insertions reduce uspB transcription and increase both FT survival and recovery, but the physiological mechanism for this fitness improvement remains unknown.
Project description:In a community sample of low-income African American adolescents, we tested the interactive effects of variation in the mu 1 opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene and the occurrence of stressful life events on symptoms of depression.Interactive effects of 24 OPRM1 simple nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and adolescent report of stressful life events on depression were tested using multilevel regressions. SNPs were dummy coded to test both additive and dominate forms of coding.Five OPRM1 SNPs showed significant evidence of interaction with stressful life events to alter depression risk (or symptoms) after adjusting for multiple testing and the correlated nature of the SNPs. Follow-up analyses showed significant differences based on OPRM1 genotype at both lower and higher frequencies of stressful life events, suggesting that participants with a copy of the minor allele on OPRM1 SNPs rs524731, rs9478503, rs3778157, rs10485057, and rs511420 have fewer symptoms in low stress conditions but more symptoms in high stress conditions compared to major allele homozygotes.The genetic variants associated with depression in African American adolescents may not translate to other ethnic groups. This study is also limited in that only one gene that functions within a complex biological system is addressed.This current study is the first to find an interaction between OPRM1 and life stress that is associated with depression. It also addressed an understudied population within the behavioral genetics literature. Further research should test additional genes involved in the opioid system and expand the current findings to more diverse samples.