Environmental and nutritional interventions acting through mitochondria to modulate disease and aging

Within the overall scope of this project, we optimized an in vivo high-content phenotypic-based screening microscopy platform in C. elegans to identify environmental and nutritional factors (with a special attention to dietary components and contaminants) acting through mitochondria-mediated process to specify or counteract neuromuscular disease. We are particularly interested in identifying interventions acting early during animal development to prevent or delay the progression of genetic- or age-associated neurometabolic disorders.  We validated our platform using genetic and pharmacological interventions targeting mitochondria and known to promote healthy aging in C. elegans, and identified a new mitochondrial ATPase inhibitor with lifespan extending effects. Constructive collaboration with the laboratories of Profs Jojo Haendeler, Roel Shin, Daniela Barilà and Felix Distelmaier are nicely contributing to this project.

  1. Maglioni S, Arsalan N, Franchi L, Hurd A, Opipari AW, Glick GD, Ventura N. (2015) An automated phenotype-based microscopy screen to identify pro-longevity interventions acting through mitochondria in C. elegans. BBA Bioenergetics. Nov;1847(11):1469-78
  2. Eckers A, Jakob S, Heiss C, Haarmann-Stemmann T, Goy C, Brinkmann V, Cortese-Krott MM, Sansone R, Esser C, Ale-Agha N, Altschmied J, Ventura N*@, Haendeler J.*@ (2016) The aryl hydrocarbon receptor promotes aging phenotypes across species. Sci Rep. Jan 21;6:19618
  3. Carmona-Gutierrez D, Zimmermann A, Kainz K, Pietrocola F, Chen G, Maglioni S, Schiavi A, Nah J, Mertel S, Beuschel CB, Castoldi F, Sica V, Trausinger G, Raml R, Sommer C, Schroeder S, Hofer SJ, Bauer MA, Pendl T, Tadic J, Dammbrueck C, Hu Z, Ruckenstuhl C, Eisenberg T, Durand S, Bossut N, Aprahamian F, Abdellatif M, Sedej S, Enot DP, Wolinski H, Dengjel J, Kepp O, Magnes C, Sinner F, Pieber TR, Sadoshima J, Ventura N, Sigrist SJ, Kroemer G, Madeo F. (2018) The flavonoid 4,4’-dimethoxychalcone promotes autophagy-dependent 3 longevity across species. Nat Commun. Feb 19;10(1):651
  4. Brinkmann V, Schiavi A, Shaik A, Puchta D, Menzel R, Ventura N. (2020) Diet and environmental factors have opposite AhR-dependent effects on C. elegans healthspan. Aging (Albany NY). Dec 13;13(1):104-133
  5. Brinkmann V, Ale-Agha N, Haendeler J@*, Ventura N.@* (2020) The Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) in the aging process: another puzzling role for this highly conserved transcription factor. Frontiers in Physiology. Review
  6. Coppari S*, Colomba M*, Fraternale D, Brinkmann V, Romeo M, Rocchi M, Di Giacomo B, Mari M, Guidi L, Ramakrishna S, Ventura N^, Albertini MC^. (2021) Antioxidant and anti-inflammaging ability of prune (Prunus spinosa L.) extract result in improved wound healing efficacy. Antioxidants Mar 2;10(3):374

Funded by:

  • Joint Programming Initiative - A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI-HDHL #01EA1602)
  • DFG (VE663/6-1)
  • DFG (VE663/8-1)
  • Manchot Stiftung


Natascia Ventura, MD, PhD, PD natascia.ventura@uni-duesseldorf.de
Alfonso Schiavi, PhD alfonso.schiavi@uni-duesseldorf.de
Silvia Maglioni, silvia.maglioni@uni-duesseldorf.de
Vanessa Brinkmann, MS vanessa.brinkmann@uni-duesseldorf.de
Laura Schröter, MS laura.schroeter@iuf-duesseldorf.de

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