p53 and Insulin-Like Signaling

An interesting paper: "In higher organisms dependent on the regenerative ability of tissue stem cells to maintain tissue integrity throughout adulthood, the failure of stem cells to replace worn out, dead, or damaged cells is seen as one mechanism that limits lifespan. In these organisms, tumor suppressors such as p53 are central participants in the control of longevity because they regulate stem cell proliferation. Several recent reports have identified p53 as a longevity gene in organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster, which lack proliferative stem cells in all but the germline and have relatively short lifespans. This has forced us to reevaluate the role of p53 in the control of lifespan. We discuss how p53 might regulate longevity in both long- and short-lived species by controlling the activity of insulin-like molecules that operate in proliferating and non-proliferating compartments of adult somatic tissues. We also discuss the hierarchical structure of lifespan regulation where loss of p53 has lifespan extending effects. Finally, we suggest a molecular mechanism by which p53 might facilitate the response to severe nutrient deprivation that allows metabolically active cells to survive periods of starvation. Paradoxically, loss of p53 function in these cells would compromise lifespan."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18598747

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