Boosting Mitochondrial Function

Journal Club December 2023


The Journal Club is a monthly livestream hosted by Dr. Oliver Medvedik which covers the latest aging research papers.The Journal Club is a monthly livestream hosted by Dr. Oliver Medvedik which covers the latest aging research papers.

The Journal Club is back for one final time this year! Dr. Oliver Medvedik will return on December 15th at 12:00 Eastern on the Lifespan.io Facebook page to review the recent paper “A drug-like molecule engages nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12/FXR to regulate mitophagy and extend lifespan”. Join us and find out how researchers are boosting mitochondria and lifespan.

The mitochondria are vital for our cells to function, and their dysfunction is one of the reasons we age. The main function of the mitochondria is to produce energy via cellular respiration. Doing this converts nutrients from food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which our bodies use as energy. ATP is essentially a universal energy “currency” that all our cells can use, and it is essential for their survival, function, and growth.

Finding ways to combat mitochondrial dysfunction is a potential way to improve health and longevity in humans, and while this experiment was only in worms, it paves the way for testing this in people.


Autophagy–lysosomal function is crucial for maintaining healthy lifespan and preventing age-related diseases. The transcription factor TFEB plays a key role in regulating this pathway. Decreased TFEB expression is associated with various age-related disorders, making it a promising therapeutic target. In this study, we screened a natural product library and discovered mitophagy-inducing coumarin (MIC), a benzocoumarin compound that enhances TFEB expression and lysosomal function. MIC robustly increases the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans in an HLH-30/TFEB-dependent and mitophagy-dependent manner involving DCT-1/BNIP3 while also preventing mitochondrial dysfunction in mammalian cells. Mechanistically, MIC acts by inhibiting ligand-induced activation of the nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12/FXR, which, in turn, induces mitophagy and extends lifespan. In conclusion, our study uncovers MIC as a promising drug-like molecule that enhances mitochondrial function and extends lifespan by targeting DAF-12/FXR. Furthermore, we discovered DAF-12/FXR as a previously unknown upstream regulator of HLH-30/TFEB and mitophagy.


Chamoli, M., Rane, A., Foulger, A., Chinta, S. J., Shahmirzadi, A. A., Kumsta, C., … & Andersen, J. K. (2023). A drug-like molecule engages nuclear hormone receptor DAF-12/FXR to regulate mitophagy and extend lifespanNature Aging, 1-15.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.