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Temporal Scaling of C. elegans Ageing

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Ageing produces a wide distribution of lifespan even among isogenic individuals housed in controlled environments. Using our automated imaging platform, we found that many lifespan-extending interventions produce a similar effect on the C. elegans lifespan distribution—a temporal scaling. Interventions that produce this apparent stretching in respect to time include changes in diet and temperature, exposure to oxidative stress, and the disruption of genes including the insulin/IGF receptor, HSF -1, and DAF -16/FOXO. These interventions all produce distinct molecular-level changes, yet ultimately yield a similar scaling of the aging dynamics. To understand this phenomenon, we ran a series of simulations in which we found that temporal scaling can arise as a general response of highly-interconnected complex networks. When components (e.g molecular mechanisms) are embedded in highly-interconnected networks, declines in the function of small sub-networks can propagate to yield a homogeneous effect on the dynamics of the system as a whole. These results a provide a new, empirically-grounded framework for linking molecular interventions to their systemic effects in ageing.

This talk is part of the Seminars at the Department of Biochemistry series.

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