Thoughts on Protein Turnover and Longevity

Your cells are constantly creating and destroying the protein components of their machinery. All of the known metabolic alterations that enhance longevity affect these processes in some way: "Cellular homeostasis, which is needed for the cells to survive, requires a well-controlled balance in protein turnover. Both protein synthesis and degradation are influenced by distinct genetic pathways that control aging in divergent eukaryotic species. ... In addition to providing building blocks for generation of new proteins and fuelling the cell with energy under starvation, the protein degradation processes eliminate damaged, nonfunctional proteins, the accumulation of which serves as the primary contributory factor to aging. Interestingly, a complex, intimate regulatory relationship exists between mechanisms promoting protein synthesis and those mediating protein degradation: under certain circumstances the former downregulate the latter. Thus, conditions that favor protein synthesis can enhance the rate at which damaged proteins accumulate. This may explain why genetic interventions and environmental factors (e.g., dietary restriction) that reduce protein synthesis, at least to tolerable levels, extend lifespan and increase resistance to cellular stress in various experimental model organisms of aging."



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