Join the club for FREE to access the whole archive and other member benefits.

Longer lifespan lies in the mechanisms regulating gene expression

Pluripotency network can have negative and positive lifespan effects


Key points from article :

Natural selection has produced mammals that age at dramatically different rates.

The naked mole rats can live up to 41 years, nearly ten times as long as similar-size rodents such as mice.

Longer lifespan lies in the mechanisms that regulate gene expression and investigated the genes connected to lifespan.

It revealed two regulatory systems controlling gene expression—circadian and pluripotency networks, which are critical to longevity. 

The findings have provided new targets to combat aging and age-related diseases.

Compared the gene expression patterns of 26 mammalian species with diverse maximum lifespans, from two years (shrews) to 41 years (naked mole rats).

Long-lived species tend to have low expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and inflammation and high expression of genes are involved in DNA repair, RNA transport, and organization of cellular skeleton (or microtubules).

The opposite was true for short-lived species.

They found two major systems: the negative lifespan genes—those involved in energy metabolism and inflammation—are controlled by circadian networks. 

And the positive lifespan genes—those involved in DNA repair, RNA transport, and microtubules—are controlled by what is called the pluripotency network.

“To live longer, we have to maintain healthy sleep schedules and avoid exposure to light at night as it may increase the expression of the negative lifespan genes,” Gorbunova says.

“We discovered that evolution has activated the pluripotency network to achieve longer lifespan,” co-researcher Gorbunova says.

Research by University of Rochester and the paper was published in Cell Metabolism.

Mentioned in this article:

Click on resource name for more details.

Cell Metabolism

Scientific Journal providing information from many different areas of metabolism.

University of Rochester

Private research university that grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees

Vera Gorbunova

Co-director Rochester Aging Research Center

Topics mentioned on this page:
Longevity Genes, Immortal Animals