Gene regulation could be the key to a longer lifespan

Gene regulation could be the key to a longer lifespan

DNA genetics evolution artist's concept

The researchers found that long-lived organisms often show high expression of genes involved in DNA repair, RNA transport and cellular skeletal organization and low expression of genes involved in inflammation and energy consumption.

Researchers at the University of Rochester who are interested in the genetics of longevity propose new targets to combat aging and age-related disorders.

Mammals that age at very different rates were created by natural selection. Naked mole rats, for example, can live up to 41 years, 10 times longer than mice and other rodents of comparable size.

What causes a longer lifespan? According to a recent study by biologists at the University of Rochester, a crucial piece of the puzzle lies in the mechanisms that control gene expression.

Vera Gorbunova, Professor of Biology and Medicine Doris Johns Cherry, Andrei Seluanov, the publication’s first author, Jinlong Lu, a postdoctoral researcher in Gorbunova’s lab, and other researchers have looked at genes linked to longevity in a recent article published in Cellular metabolism.

Their findings indicated that two regulatory mechanisms governing gene expression, known as circadian networks and pluripotency, are crucial for longevity. The findings are important for understanding how longevity occurs as well as providing new targets for combating aging and age-related disorders.

Chart of long-lived vs. short-lived species

By comparing the gene expression patterns of 26 species with varying lifespans, University of Rochester biologists found that the characteristics of different genes were controlled by circadian or pluripotency networks. Credit: University of Rochester Illustration/Julia Joshpe

Comparison of longevity genes

With maximum lifespans ranging from two years (shrews) to 41 years (naked mole-rats), the researchers analyzed the gene expression patterns of 26 mammalian species. They discovered thousands of genes positively or negatively correlated with longevity and linked to a species’ maximum lifespan.

They found that long-lived species tend to have low expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and inflammation; and high expression of genes involved in[{” attribute=””>DNA repair,

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