Editor's Summary

8 October 2009

Prohibitin and longevity: make a brake for it


Prohibitins are ubiquitous, evolutionarily conserved proteins that form a ring-like structure at the inner membrane of mitochondria. What they do precisely, we don't know. Marta Artal-Sanz and Nektarios Tavernarakis now show that prohibitin increases lifespan of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans by modulating mitochondrial function and fat metabolism. But in diapause mutants, or worms on a restricted diet, the presence of prohibitin actually shortens life. The authors propose that prohibitin promotes longevity by acting as a brake on the worm's energy supply — moderating fat use and energy production. But, under adverse external conditions, such as limited nutrient availability, energy demands outstrip supply and life lasts longer without such brake.

LetterProhibitin couples diapause signalling to mitochondrial metabolism during ageing in C. elegans

Marta Artal-Sanz & Nektarios Tavernarakis

doi:10.1038/nature08466