Telomere loss has been proposed as a mechanism for counting cell divisions during aging in normal somatic cells. How such a mitotic clock initiates the intracellular signalling events that culminate in G1 cell cycle arrest and senescence to restrict the lifespan of normal human cells is not known. We investigated the possibility that critically short telomere length activates a DNA damage response pathway involving p53 and p21(WAF1) in aging cells.
The yeast Sir2 protein mediates chromatin silencing through an intrinsic NAD-dependent histone deacetylase activity. Sir2 is a conserved protein and was recently shown to regulate lifespan extension both in budding yeast and worms. Here, we show that SIRT1, the human Sir2 homolog, is recruited to the promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) nuclear bodies of mammalian cells upon overexpression of either PML or oncogenic Ras (Ha-rasV12). SIRT1 binds and deacetylates p53, a component of PML nuclear bodies, and it can repress p53-mediated transactivation.
Fetal cardiomyocytes have been proposed as a potential source of cell-based therapy for heart failure. This study examined cellular senescence in cultured human fetal ventricular cardiomyocytes (HFCs). HFCs were isolated and identified by immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR. Cells were found to senesce after 20-25 population doublings, as determined by growth arrest, morphological changes and senescence-associated beta-galactosidase activity. Using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay, telomerase activity was undetectable in primary HFCs.
In lower organisms, increased expression of the NAD-dependent deacetylase Sir2 augments lifespan. The mechanism through which this life extension is mediated remains incompletely understood. Here we have examined the cellular effects of overexpression of SIRT1, the closest mammalian ortholog of Sir2. In PC12 cells, increased expression of the NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 reduces cellular oxygen consumption by approximately 25%. We further demonstrate that SIRT1 expression can alter the transcriptional activity of the mitochondrial biogenesis coactivator PGC-1alpha.
Activating AMPK or inactivating calcineurin slows ageing in Caenorhabditis elegans and both have been implicated as therapeutic targets for age-related pathology in mammals. However, the direct targets that mediate their effects on longevity remain unclear. In mammals, CREB-regulated transcriptional coactivators (CRTCs) are a family of cofactors involved in diverse physiological processes including energy homeostasis, cancer and endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Caloric restriction has been shown to increase lifespan in several organisms and to delay onset of age-related diseases. The transcriptional response to caloric restriction has been studied for mRNAs, while the microRNA signature following caloric restriction remains unexplored. Here, we characterize the microRNA expression in mouse breast tissue before and after caloric restriction, reporting several changes in the microRNA expression profile.
The phenomenon that caloric restriction increases life span in a variety of species from yeast to mice has been the focus of much interest. Recent observations suggest that a protein important for heterochromatin formation, Sir2, is central for caloric restriction-induced longevity in lower organisms.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Longevity regulatory genes include the Forkhead transcription factor FOXO and the NAD-dependent histone deacetylase silent information regulator 2 (Sir2). Genetic studies demonstrate that Sir2 acts to extend lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans upstream of DAF-16, a member of the FOXO family, in the insulin-like signaling pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the requirement of DAF-16 activity in Sir2-mediated longevity remain unknown. Here we show that reversible acetylation of Foxo1 (also known as FKHR), the mouse DAF-16 ortholog, modulates its transactivation function.