Current models envision replicative senescence to be under dual control by the p53 and retinoblastoma (RB) tumour-suppressor pathways. The role of the p16(INK4a)-RB pathway is controversial, and the function of RB in human cells has not been tested directly. We used targeted homologous recombination to knock out one copy of RB in presenescent human fibroblasts. During entry into senescence, RB+/- cells underwent spontaneous loss of heterozygosity and the resultant RB-/- clones bypassed senescence. The extended lifespan phase was eventually terminated by a crisis-like state.
Telomere shortening in normal human cells causes replicative senescence, a p53-dependent growth arrest state, which is thought to represent an innate defence against tumour progression. However, although it has been postulated that critical telomere loss generates a 'DNA damage' signal, the signalling pathway(s) that alerts cells to short dysfunctional telomeres remains only partially defined.
Aging is characterized by the accumulation of damaged cellular macromolecules caused by declining repair and elimination pathways. An integral component employed by cells to counter toxic protein aggregates is the conserved ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS). Previous studies have described an age-dependent decline of proteasomal function and increased longevity correlates with sustained proteasome capacity in centenarians and in naked mole rats, a long-lived rodent. Proof for a direct impact of enhanced proteasome function on longevity, however, is still lacking.
The eukaryotic DNA replication initiation factor Mcm10 is essential for both replisome assembly and function. Human Mcm10 has two DNA-binding domains, the conserved internal domain (ID) and the C-terminal domain (CTD), which is specific to metazoans. SIRT1 is a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent deacetylase that belongs to the sirtuin family. It is conserved from yeast to human and participates in cellular controls of metabolism, longevity, gene expression and genomic stability.
Human-nucleotide-excision repair (NER) deficiency leads to different developmental and segmental progeroid symptoms of which the pathogenesis is only partially understood. To understand the biological impact of accumulating spontaneous DNA damage, we studied the phenotypic consequences of DNA-repair deficiency in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that DNA damage accumulation does not decrease the adult life span of post-mitotic tissue.
The chronological lifespan of eukaryotic organisms is extended by the mutational inactivation of conserved growth-signaling pathways that regulate progression into and through the cell cycle. Here we show that in the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, these and other lifespan-extending conditions, including caloric restriction and osmotic stress, increase the efficiency with which nutrient-depleted cells establish or maintain a cell cycle arrest in G1.
Aging and longevity are complex traits influenced by genetic and environmental factors. To identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that control replicative lifespan, we employed an outbred Saccharomyces cerevisiae model, generated by crossing a vineyard and a laboratory strain. The predominant QTL mapped to the rDNA, with the vineyard rDNA conferring a lifespan increase of 41%. The lifespan extension was independent of Sir2 and Fob1, but depended on a polymorphism in the rDNA origin of replication from the vineyard strain that reduced origin activation relative to the laboratory origin.
In many organisms, attenuation of growth signaling by caloric restriction or mutational inactivation of growth signaling pathways extends lifespan and protects against cancer and other age-related diseases. The focus of many efforts to understand these effects has been on the induction of oxidative stress defenses that inhibit cellular senescence and cell death. Here we show that in the model organism S.
Telomerase is a eukaryotic ribonucleoprotein (RNP) whose specialized reverse transcriptase action performs de novo synthesis of one strand of telomeric DNA. The resulting telomerase-mediated elongation of telomeres, which are the protective end-caps for eukaryotic chromosomes, counterbalances the inevitable attrition from incomplete DNA replication and nuclease action.
Site-directed mutagenesis of the telomerase RNA from Tetrahymena thermophila was used previously to demonstrate the templating function of a sequence within this RNA; this sequence specifies the sequence of telomeric DNA in vivo. The possible functional importance of a phylogenetically conserved nucleotide outside the telomerase RNA template region was investigated by a similar experimental approach.