Mitochondrial Stress and Aging: Lessons from C. elegans

Peng X. Chen, Leyuan Zhang, Di Chen, Ye Tian

Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology


Aging is accompanied by a progressive decline in mitochondrial function, which in turn contributes to a variety of age-related diseases. Counterintuitively, a growing number of studies have found that disruption of mitochondrial function often leads to increased lifespan. This seemingly contradictory observation has inspired extensive research into genetic pathways underlying the mitochondrial basis of aging, particularly within the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The complex and antagonistic roles of mitochondria in the aging process have altered the view of mitochondria, which not only serve as simple bioenergetic factories but also as signaling platforms for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and organismal health. Here, we review the contributions of C. elegans to our understanding of mitochondrial function in the aging process over the past decades. In addition, we explore how these insights may promote future research of mitochondrial-targeted strategies in higher organisms to potentially slow aging and delay age-related disease progression.