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Semelparous Death as one Element of Iteroparous Aging Gone Large

Kern, Carina C; Gems, David; (2022) Semelparous Death as one Element of Iteroparous Aging Gone Large. Frontiers in Genetics , 13 , Article 880343. 10.3389/fgene.2022.880343. Green open access

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Abstract

The aging process in semelparous and iteroparous species is different, but how different? Death in semelparous organisms (e.g., Pacific salmon) results from suicidal reproductive effort (reproductive death). Aging (senescence) in iteroparous organisms such as humans is often viewed as a quite different process. Recent findings suggest that the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, widely used to study aging, undergoes reproductive death. In post-reproductive C. elegans hermaphrodites, intestinal biomass is repurposed to produce yolk which when vented serves as a milk to support larval growth. This apparent benefit of lactation comes at the cost of intestinal atrophy in the mother. Germline removal and inhibition of insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) suppress C. elegans reproductive pathology and greatly increase lifespan. Blocking sexual maturity, e.g., by gonadectomy, suppresses reproductive death thereby strongly increasing lifespan in semelparous organisms, but typically has little effect on lifespan in iteroparous ones. Similarly, reduced IIS causes relatively modest increases in lifespan in iteroparous organisms. We argue that the more regulated and plastic mechanisms of senescence in semelparous organisms, involving costly resource reallocation under endocrine control, exist as one extreme of an etiological continuum with mechanisms operative in iteroparous organisms. We suggest that reproductive death evolved by exaggeration of mechanisms operative in iteroparous species, where other mechanisms also promote senescence. Thus, knowledge of C. elegans senescence can guide understanding of mechanisms contributing to human aging.

Type: Article
Title: Semelparous Death as one Element of Iteroparous Aging Gone Large
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2022.880343
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2022.880343
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Kern and Gems. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: aging, biomass repurposing, C. elegans, insulin/IGF-1 signaling, programmatic aging, reproductive death, semelparity, senescent pathology
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150304
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