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Growing old together: Yeast, worms and people may age by similar mechanisms
Date:3/12/2008

t cells lacking each gene. Our study identified 25 genes that regulate aging in both yeast and nematodes, 22 of which were not previously known to be conserved modulators of aging, says Kaeberlein. As 15 of the 25 yeast genes are highly similar to known human genes, Kaeberlein adds that this work is readily applicable to human aging research. It is reasonable to speculate that many of the genes identified in our study also regulate longevity in humans.

In addition to identifying related pairs of aging-associated genes in yeast and nematodes, the group also investigated whether these genes are involved in common functional pathways. We find that there is significant overlap between nematode and yeast aging genes, particularly those in nutrient-response pathways, describes Kennedy. Signaling pathways involved in the response to nutrients have previously been implicated in the regulation of aging. This finding indicates that two very different species age through overlapping mechanisms and suggests that these mechanisms are likely to also contribute to human aging.

The genes identified in this study now provide a foundation for extending this research to a higher model organism, and ultimately for understanding human aging. It will be important to determine how each of these genes modulate aging at the molecular level, and to test whether they also modulate aging in a mammalian model, such as mice, says Kaeberlein. In principle, any of these genes could be a useful therapeutic target for treating age-associated diseases.


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Contact: Peggy Calicchia
calicchi@cshl.org
516-422-4012
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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