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Bernd Moosmann

Universal Mechanisms of Ageing in Metazoans

We are interested in conserved mechanisms that drive the ageing process in animals. Phylogenomic comparisons in our laboratory have yielded the first quantitative trait locus for longevity, as represented by the number of translated cysteine codons (TGT and TGC) in the mitochondrial genome. The coupling of this locus with lifespan was shown to be dependent on aerobic respiration, indicating that cysteine-related redox processes were decisive for longevity. The key redox process to prohibit longevity in animals was subsequently characterised to be the kinetic transfer of sulfur-centered radicals within the inner mitochondrial membrane. Based on these findings, we have developed an amended version of the “Free Radical Theory of Ageing” that integrated many previously contradictory observations, especially the ineffectiveness of antioxidants in intervention studies. We currently investigate unusual chemical and biological strategies to make the elusive sulfur-centered radicals accessible to modulation, with the aim of prolonging life and maintaining health.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2010: Professor of Physiological Chemistry, Institute for Pathobiochemistry, University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz
  • 2004 - 2010: Junior Professor of Pathobiochemistry, Institute for Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Department of Medicine, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz
  • 2002 - 2004: Postdoctoral Fellow, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA


  • 2002: PhD in Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, and Free University of Berlin
  • 1998: Diploma in Biochemistry, Free University of Berlin

Selected publications by Bernd Moosmann

Moosmann B (2021) Flux control in the aging cascade. Aging, 13: 6233–6235 Link

Kunath S, Schindeldecker M, De Giacomo A, Meyer T, Sohre S, Hajieva P, von Schacky C, Urban J and Moosmann B (2020) Prooxidative chain transfer activity by thiol groups in biological systems. Redox Biol, 36: 101628 Link

Kunath S and Moosmann B (2020) What is the rate-limiting step towards aging? - Chemical reaction kinetics might reconcile contradictory observations in experimental aging research. Geroscience, 42: 857–866 Link

Schindeldecker M, Stark M, Behl C and Moosmann B (2011) Differential cysteine depletion in respiratory chain complexes enables the distinction of longevity from aerobicity. Mech Ageing Dev, 132: 171–179 Link

Moosmann B and Behl C (2008) Mitochondrially encoded cysteine predicts animal lifespan. Aging Cell, 7: 32–46 Link