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      The genetics of ageing.

      Nature

      metabolism, Transferases, physiology, Signal Transduction, genetics, Longevity, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Insulin, Humans, Cell Respiration, Animals, Aging

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          Abstract

          The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ages and dies in a few weeks, but humans can live for 100 years or more. Assuming that the ancestor we share with nematodes aged rapidly, this means that over evolutionary time mutations have increased lifespan more than 2,000-fold. Which genes can extend lifespan? Can we augment their activities and live even longer? After centuries of wistful poetry and wild imagination, we are now getting answers, often unexpected ones, to these fundamental questions.

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          Most cited references 69

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          Regulation of lifespan in Drosophila by modulation of genes in the TOR signaling pathway.

          In many species, reducing nutrient intake without causing malnutrition extends lifespan. Like DR (dietary restriction), modulation of genes in the insulin-signaling pathway, known to alter nutrient sensing, has been shown to extend lifespan in various species. In Drosophila, the target of rapamycin (TOR) and the insulin pathways have emerged as major regulators of growth and size. Hence we examined the role of TOR pathway genes in regulating lifespan by using Drosophila. We show that inhibition of TOR signaling pathway by alteration of the expression of genes in this nutrient-sensing pathway, which is conserved from yeast to human, extends lifespan in a manner that may overlap with known effects of dietary restriction on longevity. In Drosophila, TSC1 and TSC2 (tuberous sclerosis complex genes 1 and 2) act together to inhibit TOR (target of rapamycin), which mediates a signaling pathway that couples amino acid availability to S6 kinase, translation initiation, and growth. We find that overexpression of dTsc1, dTsc2, or dominant-negative forms of dTOR or dS6K all cause lifespan extension. Modulation of expression in the fat is sufficient for the lifespan-extension effects. The lifespan extensions are dependent on nutritional condition, suggesting a possible link between the TOR pathway and dietary restriction.
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            Regulation of yeast replicative life span by TOR and Sch9 in response to nutrients.

             M Kaeberlein (2005)
            Calorie restriction increases life span in many organisms, including the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. From a large-scale analysis of 564 single-gene-deletion strains of yeast, we identified 10 gene deletions that increase replicative life span. Six of these correspond to genes encoding components of the nutrient-responsive TOR and Sch9 pathways. Calorie restriction of tor1D or sch9D cells failed to further increase life span and, like calorie restriction, deletion of either SCH9 or TOR1 increased life span independent of the Sir2 histone deacetylase. We propose that the TOR and Sch9 kinases define a primary conduit through which excess nutrient intake limits longevity in yeast.
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              Stochastic and genetic factors influence tissue-specific decline in ageing C. elegans.

              The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is an important model for studying the genetics of ageing, with over 50 life-extension mutations known so far. However, little is known about the pathobiology of ageing in this species, limiting attempts to connect genotype with senescent phenotype. Using ultrastructural analysis and visualization of specific cell types with green fluorescent protein, we examined cell integrity in different tissues as the animal ages. We report remarkable preservation of the nervous system, even in advanced old age, in contrast to a gradual, progressive deterioration of muscle, resembling human sarcopenia. The age-1(hx546) mutation, which extends lifespan by 60-100%, delayed some, but not all, cellular biomarkers of ageing. Strikingly, we found strong evidence that stochastic as well as genetic factors are significant in C. elegans ageing, with extensive variability both among same-age animals and between cells of the same type within individuals.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/nature08980
                20336132

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