Oleic Acid Protects Caenorhabditis Mothers From Mating-Induced Death and the Cost of Reproduction

Leo S. Choi, Cheng Shi, Jasmine Ashraf, Salman Sohrabi, Coleen T. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Reproduction comes at a cost, including accelerated death. Previous studies of the interconnections between reproduction, lifespan, and fat metabolism in C. elegans were predominantly performed in low-reproduction conditions. To understand how increased reproduction affects lifespan and fat metabolism, we examined mated worms; we find that a Δ9 desaturase, FAT-7, is significantly up-regulated. Dietary supplementation of oleic acid (OA), the immediate downstream product of FAT-7 activity, restores fat storage and completely rescues mating-induced death, while other fatty acids cannot. OA-mediated lifespan restoration is also observed in C. elegans mutants suffering increased death from short-term mating, and in mated C. remanei females, indicating a conserved role of oleic acid in post-mating lifespan regulation. Our results suggest that increased reproduction can be uncoupled from the costs of reproduction from somatic longevity regulation if provided with the limiting lipid, oleic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number690373
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Jun 11 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • cost of reproduction
  • longevity
  • mating-induced death
  • metabolism
  • oleic acid
  • reproduction


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