Autophagy plays crucial roles in many biological processes, and recent research points to a possibly conserved role for autophagy in the process of organismal aging. Experiments in the nematode C. elegans suggest that autophagy may be required specifically for longevity pathways that are regulated by environmental signals. Known longevity genes can be assigned to four major longevity pathways/processes: insulin/IGF‐1 signaling, dietary restriction, protein translation, and mitochondrial respiration. Of these, reduced insulin/IGF‐1 signaling and dietary restriction, but not protein translation inhibition, appear to rely on autophagy to increase life span. Multiple experimental approaches have been used to study autophagy in the context of aging in C. elegans. This chapter describes techniques used to address the link between aging and autophagy in C. elegans. Specifically, we summarize how to examine organismal life span in various longevity mutants and how to visually detect autophagy and autolysosomal formation in C. elegans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology