Loss of cognitive function with age is devastating. EGL-30/GNAQ and Gαq signaling pathways are highly conserved between C. elegans and mammals, and murine Gnaq is enriched in hippocampal neurons and declines with age. We found that activation of EGL-30 in aged worms triples memory span, and GNAQ gain of function significantly improved memory in aged mice: GNAQ(gf) in hippocampal neurons of 24-month-old mice (equivalent to 70- to 80-year-old humans) rescued age-related impairments in well-being and memory. Single-nucleus RNA sequencing revealed increased expression of genes regulating synaptic function, axon guidance, and memory in GNAQ-treated mice, and worm orthologs of these genes were required for long-term memory extension in worms. These experiments demonstrate that C. elegans is a powerful model to identify mammalian regulators of memory, leading to the identification of a pathway that improves memory in extremely old mice. To our knowledge, this is the oldest age at which an intervention has improved age-related cognitive decline.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- C. elegans
- CP: Neuroscience