Phosphatidylethanolamine positively regulates autophagy and longevity

P. Rockenfeller, M. Koska, F. Pietrocola, N. Minois, O. Knittelfelder, V. Sica, J. Franz, D. Carmona-Gutierrez, G. Kroemer*, F. Madeo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)
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Autophagy is a cellular recycling program that retards ageing by efficiently eliminating damaged and potentially harmful organelles and intracellular protein aggregates. Here, we show that the abundance of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) positively regulates autophagy. Reduction of intracellular PE levels by knocking out either of the two yeast phosphatidylserine decarboxylases (PSD) accelerated chronological ageing-associated production of reactive oxygen species and death. Conversely, the artificial increase of intracellular PE levels, by provision of its precursor ethanolamine or by overexpression of the PE-generating enzyme Psd1, significantly increased autophagic flux, both in yeast and in mammalian cell culture. Importantly administration of ethanolamine was sufficient to extend the lifespan of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), mammalian cells (U2OS, H4) and flies (Drosophila melanogaster). We thus postulate that the availability of PE may constitute a bottleneck for functional autophagy and that organismal life or healthspan could be positively influenced by the consumption of ethanolamine-rich food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalCell death and differentiation
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • Yeast saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • Lipid droplet formation
  • Phosphatidylserine decarboxylase
  • Subcellular membranes
  • Monitoring autophagy
  • Protein lipidation
  • Differnet pathways
  • Mammalian-cells
  • Life-span
  • Gene


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