mRNA Translation and Longevity

Research suggests that changes in messenger RNA (mRNA) translation - a step in the complex process by which proteins are built from the blueprint of a gene - are important in the metabolic determination of longevity. This appears to be one of the ways in which the TOR gene, and thus rapamycin, influences longevity: "Appropriate regulation of mRNA translation is essential for growth and survival and the pathways that regulate mRNA translation have been highly conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution. Translation is controlled by a complex set of mechanisms acting at multiple levels, ranging from global protein synthesis to individual mRNAs. Recently, several mutations that perturb regulation of mRNA translation have also been found to increase longevity in three model organisms: the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Many of these translation control factors can be mapped to a single pathway downstream of the nutrient responsive target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase. [This suggests] that mRNA translation is an evolutionarily conserved modifier of longevity and [could] influence aging and age-associated disease in different species."


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