Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Inhibition of S6K1 Gene Increases Lifespan

This study in the latest issue of Science is yet another reason why aging research is among the most exciting, and important, areas of scientific research today.

Researchers from UCL, the Wellcome Trust, Imperial College, the University of Cincinnati and Aberdeen University have identified a gene, S6K1, that influences healthy mammalian life-span. Here is the abstract:

Caloric restriction (CR) protects against aging and disease, but the mechanisms by which this affects mammalian life span are unclear. We show in mice that deletion of ribosomal S6 protein kinase 1 (S6K1), a component of the nutrient-responsive mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway, led to increased life span and resistance to age-related pathologies, such as bone, immune, and motor dysfunction and loss of insulin sensitivity. Deletion of S6K1 induced gene expression patterns similar to those seen in CR or with pharmacological activation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK), a conserved regulator of the metabolic response to CR. Our results demonstrate that S6K1 influences healthy mammalian life-span and suggest that therapeutic manipulation of S6K1 and AMPK might mimic CR and could provide broad protection against diseases of aging.