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Study highlights importance of mRNA translation in aging process

May 14, 2017

First-author Aric N. Rogers, Ph. D., a Buck Institute postdoctoral fellow, inhibited expression of the mRNA translation factor, IFG-1, in adult worms. IFG-1 is important for growth and development, and has a homolog (eIF4G) in humans.. According to Rogers turning down IFG-1 right after the animals reached maturity set off a genome-wide change in the type of messages that were being translated. He said this causes a shift towards increased somatic maintenance by increasing the activity of genes involved in stress responses thereby enhancing longevity. Rogers said. "Turning down ifg-1 expression flips a switch that turned down growth and reproduction, but increased their healthspan as well as their lifespan."

Analysis of genes that were upregulated and downregulated pointed to processed transcript length as a determinant of altered translation. The next phase of the research will involve a closer look at small conserved sequences within the genetic code that may also contribute to changes in protein expression"Our primary interest is to understand the biological basis of aging," said Kapahi. "This will help identify molecular targets that can be used to develop therapeutics that would slow age-related diseases and extend the healthy years of life."

Source: Buck Institute for Age Research