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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Uncoupling of pathways that promote postmitotic life span and apoptosis from replicative immortality of Caenorhabditis elegans germ cells.

A dichotomy exists between germ and somatic cells in most organisms, such that somatic cell lineages proliferate for a single generation, whereas the germ cell lineage has the capacity to proliferate from one generation to the next, indefinitely. Several theories have been proposed to explain the unlimited replicative life span of germ cells, including the elimination of damaged germ cells by apoptosis or expression of high levels of gene products that prevent aging in somatic cells. These theories were tested in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans by examining the consequences of eliminating either apoptosis or the daf-16, daf-18 or sir-2.1 genes that promote longevity of postmitotic somatic cells. However, germ cells of strains deficient for these activities displayed an unlimited proliferative capacity. Thus, C. elegans germ cells retain their youthful character via alternative pathways that prevent or eliminate damage that accumulates as a consequence of cell proliferation.[1]


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