Defective responses to DNA single- or double-strand breaks can result in neurological disease, underscoring the critical importance of DNA repair for neural homeostasis. Human DNA repair-deficient syndromes are generally congenital, in which brain pathology reflects the consequences of developmentally incurred DNA damage. Although, it is unclear to what degree DNA strand-break repair defects in mature neural cells contributes to disease pathology. However, DNA single-strand breaks are a relatively common lesion which if not repaired can impact cells via interference with transcription. Thus, this lesion, and probably to a lesser extent DNA double strand breaks, may be particularly relevant to aging in the neural cell population. In this review we will examine the consequences of defective DNA strand break repair towards homeostasis in the brain. Further, we also consider the utility of mouse models as reagents to understand the connection between DNA strand breaks and aging in the brain.
DNA damage; DNA repair; nervous system; aging; ATM; AOA1; SCAN1
HIV-infected individuals have an increased risk of age-related morbidity despite antiretroviral treatment (ART). Several anatomic and functional ophthalmological parameters are associated with increasing chronological age. These may, therefore, potentially serve as biomarkers of ageing. We investigated associations between ocular parameters (lens density, retinal vessel calibre, corneal endothelium and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness) and two ‘cellular’ biomarkers of ageing (leukocyte telomere length and CDKN2A expression) and with frailty in a cross-sectional study of 216 HIV-infected individuals. All ocular parameters, telomere length and frailty were associated with chronological age, whereas CDKN2A expression was not. Retinal venular calibre and lens density were associated with shorter telomere length (p-trend=0.04, and 0.08, respectively), whereas CDKN2A expression and frailty status were not associated with ocular parameters. Longitudinal studies are warranted to assess the integration of retinal vascular calibre and lens density with systemic markers to develop an overall index of biological ageing in HIV infection.
Telomeres; CDKN2A; lens density; retinal vessel calibre; HIV
In order to understand the molecular mechanisms of longevity regulation, we recently performed a screen designed to enrich for genes common to several longevity interventions. Using this approach, we identified the Drosophila melanogaster gene takeout. takeout is upregulated in a variety of long-lived flies, and extends life span when overexpressed. Here, we investigate the mechanisms of takeout-dependent longevity.
takeout overexpression specifically in the fat body is sufficient to increase fly longevity and is additive to the longevity effects of dietary restriction. takeout long-lived flies do not show phenotypes often associated with increased longevity, such as enhanced stress resistance or major metabolic abnormalities. However, males exhibit greatly diminished courtship behavior, leading to a reduction in fertility. Interestingly, takeout contains a binding domain for Juvenile Hormone, a fly hormone that plays a role in the regulation of developmental transitions. Importantly, the longevity and courtship phenotypes of takeout overexpressing flies are reversed by treatment with the Juvenile Hormone analog methoprene.
These data suggest that takeout is a key player in the tradeoff-switch between fertility and longevity. takeout may control fertility via modulation of courtship behavior. This regulation may occur through Juvenile Hormone binding to takeout and a subsequent reduction in Juvenile Hormone signaling activity.
Drosophila melanogaster; Juvenile Hormone; longevity; fertility; aging
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key energy-sensitive enzyme that controls numerous metabolic and cellular processes. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is another energy/nutrient-sensitive kinase that controls protein synthesis and cell growth. In this study we determined whether older versus younger men have alterations in the AMPK and mTOR pathways in skeletal muscle, and examined the effect of a long term resistance type exercise training program on these signaling intermediaries. Older men had decreased AMPKα2 activity and lower phosphorylation of AMPK and its downstream signaling substrate acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). mTOR phosphylation also was reduced in muscle from older men. Exercise training increased AMPKα1 activity in older men, however, AMPKα2 activity, and the phosphorylation of AMPK, ACC and mTOR, were not affected. In conclusion, older men have alterations in the AMPK-ACC and mTOR pathways in muscle. In addition, prolonged resistance type exercise training induces an isoform-selective up regulation of AMPK activity.
Aging; Skeletal muscle; AMPK; mTOR; Resistance exercise
The ascidian Ciona intestinalis has a short life span and powerful regeneration capacities. The regeneration of the oral siphon (OS) involves wound healing, blastema formation, cell proliferation, and replacement of eight oral pigment organs (OPO), the latter via differentiation and migration of stem/precursor cells from localized siphon niches in the siphon. The restoration of OPO pattern during OS regeneration occurs with a high degree of accuracy through three successive cycles of amputation. It is shown here that oral siphons of the largest and oldest members of a wild Ciona population do not completely regenerate their siphons after amputation. The loss of regeneration capacity was accompanied by reduced cell proliferation. In contrast to arrested OS outgrowth, the stem/precursor cells responsible for OPO replacement “over-differentiate” after OS amputation in the oldest animals, the typical number of OPO is increased from eight to twelve-sixteen, and malformed OPO are produced. Also in contrast to younger animals, the oldest animals of the population show arrested OPO development after two consecutive cycles of amputation and regeneration. We conclude that there is a size and age threshold in Ciona after which the regenerative capacity of the OS is compromised due to effects of aging on cell proliferation.
Ascidian; Ciona intestinalis; siphon regeneration; oral pigment organs; cell proliferation
Periods of elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production are a normal part of mitochondrial physiology. However, little is known about age-related changes in the mitochondrial response to elevated ROS in vivo. Significantly, ROS-induced uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation has received attention as a negative feedback mechanism to reduce mitochondrial superoxide production. Here we use a novel in vivo spectroscopy system to test the hypothesis that ROS-induced uncoupling is diminished in aged mitochondria. This system simultaneously acquires 31P magnetic resonance and near-infrared optical spectra to non-invasively measure phosphometabolite and O2 concentrations in mouse skeletal muscle. Using low dose paraquat to elevate intracellular ROS we assess in vivo mitochondrial function in young, middle aged, and old mice. Oxidative phosphorylation was uncoupled to the same degree in response to ROS at each age, but this uncoupling was associated with loss of phosphorylation capacity and total ATP in old mice only. Using mice lacking UCP3 we demonstrate that this in vivo uncoupling is independent of this putative uncoupler of skeletal muscle mitochondria. These data indicate that ROS-induced uncoupling persists throughout life, but that oxidative stress leads to mitochondrial deficits and loss of ATP in aged organisms that may contribute to impaired function and degeneration.
Mitochondria; Uncoupling; Oxidative Stress; Skeletal Muscle; UCP3
Individual differences in biological ageing (i.e., the rate of physiological response to the passage of time) may be due in part to genotype-specific variation in gene action. However, the sources of heritable variation in human age-related gene expression profiles are largely unknown. We have profiled genome-wide expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 1,240 individuals in large families and found 4,472 human autosomal transcripts, representing ~4,349 genes, significantly correlated with age. We identified 623 transcripts that show genotype by age interaction in addition to a main effect of age, defining a large set of novel candidates for characterization of the mechanisms of differential biological ageing. We applied a novel SNP genotype×age interaction test to one of these candidates, the ubiquilin-like gene UBQLNL, and found evidence of joint cis-association and genotype by age interaction as well as trans-genotype by age interaction for UBQLNL expression. Both UBQLNL expression levels at recruitment and cis genotype are associated with longitudinal cancer risk in our study cohort.
Transcriptional ageing; genotype by age interaction; ubiquitins; UBQLNL; cancer risk gene
•HIV is associated with age-related morbidity despite antiretroviral treatment.•Ocular age-related parameters may serve as biomarkers of ageing.•Lens density may have a role in the determination of biological age in HIV infection.
HIV-infected individuals have an increased risk of age-related morbidity despite antiretroviral treatment (ART). Several anatomic and functional ophthalmological parameters are associated with increasing chronological age. These may, therefore, potentially serve as biomarkers of ageing. We investigated associations between ocular parameters (lens density, retinal vessel calibre, corneal endothelium and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness) and two ‘cellular’ biomarkers of ageing (leukocyte telomere length and CDKN2A expression) and with frailty in a cross-sectional study of 216 HIV-infected individuals. All ocular parameters, telomere length and frailty were associated with chronological age, whereas CDKN2A expression was not. Retinal venular calibre and lens density were associated with shorter telomere length (p-trend = 0.04, and 0.08, respectively), whereas CDKN2A expression and frailty status were not associated with ocular parameters. Longitudinal studies are warranted to assess the integration of retinal vascular calibre and lens density with systemic markers to develop an overall index of biological ageing in HIV infection.
Telomeres; CDKN2A; Lens density; Retinal vessel calibre; HIV
Telomerase is repressed in the majority of human somatic tissues. As a result human somatic cells undergo replicative senescence, which plays an important role in suppressing tumorigenesis, and at the same time contributes to the process of aging. Repression of somatic telomerase activity is not a universal phenomenon among mammals. Mice, for example, express telomerase in somatic tissues, and mouse cells are immortal when cultured at physiological oxygen concentration. What is the status of telomerase in other animals, beyond human and laboratory mouse, and why do some species evolve repression of telomerase activity while others do not? Here we discuss the data on telomere biology in various mammalian species, and a recent study of telomerase activity in a large collection of wild rodent species, which showed that telomerase activity coevolves with body mass, but not lifespan. Large rodents repress telomerase activity, while small rodents maintain high levels of telomerase activity in somatic cells. We discuss a model that large body mass presents an increased cancer risk, which drives the evolution of telomerase suppression and replicative senescence.
Telomerase; Aging; Cancer; Evolution
Endothelial senescence may contribute to the pathogenesis of age-related vascular disorders. Furthermore, chronic exposure to risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) accelerates the effects of chronological aging by generating stress-dependent damages, including oxidative stress, therefore promoting stress-induced premature senescence. Our objective was to determine whether a chronic treatment with an antioxidant (N-acetyl-cystein, NAC) could delay senescence of endothelial cells (EC) isolated and cultured from arterial segments of patients with severe coronary artery disease. If EC were considered as one population (n = 26), chronic NAC treatment slightly shortened telomere attrition rate associated with senescence but did not significantly delay the onset of endothelial senescence. However, in a subgroup of NAC-treated EC (n = 15) cellular senescence was significantly delayed, NAC decreased lipid peroxidation (HNE), activated the catalytic subunit of telomerase (hTERT) and inhibited telomere attrition. In contrast, in another subgroup of EC (n = 11) characterized by initial short telomeres, no effect of NAC on HNE and high levels of DNA damages, the antioxidant was not beneficial on senescence, suggesting an irreversible stress-dependent damage. In conclusion, chronic exposure to NAC can delay senescence of diseased EC via hTERT activation and transient telomere stabilization, unless oxidative stress-associated cell damage has become irreversible.
PMID: 18302967 CAMSID: cams3027
Endothelium; Cardiovascular disease; Oxidative stress; Antioxidant; Cellular senescence
With aging, oxidative stress accelerates vascular endothelial cell (EC) telomere shortening-induced senescence, and may promote atherosclerosis in humans. Our aim was to investigate whether an antioxidant treatment combined with telomerase (hTERT) over-expression would prevent senescence of EC isolated from patients with severe atherosclerosis.
Cells were isolated from internal mammary arteries (n = 11 donors), cultured until senescence with or without N-acetylcystein (NAC) and infected, or not, with a lentivirus over-expressing hTERT.
Compared to control EC, hTERT-NAC cells had increased telomerase activity, longer telomeres and underwent more cell divisions. According to the donor, hTERT-NAC either delayed (n = 5) or prevented (n = 4) EC senescence, the latter leading to cell immortalization. Lack of cell immortalization by hTERT-NAC was accompanied by an absence of beneficial effect of NAC alone in paired EC. Accordingly, lack of EC immortalization by hTERT-NAC was associated with high endogenous susceptibility to oxidation. In EC where hTERT-NAC did not immortalize EC, p53, p21 and p16 expression increased with senescence, while oxidative-dependent DNA damage associated with senescence was not prevented.
Our data suggest that irreversible oxidative stress-dependent damages associated with cardiovascular risk factors are responsible for senescence of EC from atherosclerotic patients.
PMID: 20399802 CAMSID: cams3017
Telomerase; Endothelium; Oxidative stress; Cellular senescence; Coronary artery disease
•Structural parameters of the eye change with increasing chronological age.•Ocular age-related parameters may serve as biomarkers of aging.•Relevant ocular parameters include retinal vessel calibre and lens density.
Certain anatomic and functional parameters of the eye change with increasing chronological age. They may, therefore, serve as potential biomarkers of ageing. We investigated associations between four such ocular parameters (lens density, retinal vessel calibre, corneal endothelial cells and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness) and two ‘cellular’ biomarkers of ageing (leukocyte telomere length and CDKN2A expression), with frailty (a clinical correlate of biological ageing) in a population of South African adults. All ocular parameters revealed an association with either telomere length or CDKN2A expression. However, lens density was most strongly correlated with age, increased CDKN2A expression, and with frailty (p = 0.05 and 0.03, respectively). Narrow retinal arteriolar diameter, associated with increased chronological age, was also associated with increased CDK2NA expression (0.42 vs. 0.31, p = 0.02) but not with frailty. Ocular parameters may aid in determining biological age, warranting investigation in longitudinal studies.
Telomeres; CDKN2A; Lens density; Retinal vessel calibre; Corneal endothelium; Retinal nerve fibre layer; Frailty
It has been proposed that Shc proteins may influence aging by regulating insulin signaling and energy metabolism. Evidence suggests that deletion of p66Shc could partially attenuate weight gain on a high fat diet by increasing energy expenditure. However, the impact of p66Shc on the metabolic response to calorie restriction (CR) has not been determined. Thus, we used indirect respiration calorimetry to determine the impact of CR on energy expenditure (EE) and substrate utilization (RQ) in 18mo p66Shc(−/−) and wild-type (WT) mice. Calorimetry measurements were completed at baseline and following 3d of 40% CR and 2mo of 26% CR. There was no difference (P>0.10) in EE and RQ between gentoypes, regardless of how EE data was normalized. Both p66Shc(−/−) and WT mice showed decreases (P<0.001) in EE normalized for body weight at 2mo of CR. However, the response to 3d of CR was different between genotypes with only the p66Shc(−/−) showing a decrease (P<0.001) in 24h EE expressed per mouse or normalized for body weight. The results indicate that p66Shc does not significantly influence EE in 18mo mice at baseline or 2mo of CR, although it may play a role in the EE response to very acute CR.
indirect respiration calorimetry; substrate oxidation; energy expenditure; body composition; dietary restriction
In this study, we assessed global gene expression patterns in adolescent mice exposed to lead (Pb) as infants and their aged siblings to identify reprogrammed genes. Global expression on postnatal day 20 and 700 was analyzed and genes that were down- and up-regulated (≥2 fold) were identified, clustered and analyzed for their relationship to DNA methylation. About 150 genes were differentially expressed in old age. In normal aging, we observed an up-regulation of genes related to the immune response, metal-binding, metabolism and transcription/transduction coupling. Prior exposure to Pb revealed a repression in these genes suggesting that disturbances in developmental stages of the brain compromise the ability to defend against age-related stressors, thus promoting the neurodegenerative process. Overexpression and repression of genes corresponded with their DNA methylation profile.
gene expression; Pb (lead); aging; methylation arrays
Cellular senescence, a stress induced growth arrest of somatic cells, was first documented in cell cultures over forty years ago, however its physiological significance has only recently been demonstrated. Using novel biomarkers of cellular senescence we examined whether senescent cells accumulate in tissues from baboons of ages encompassing the entire lifespan of this species. We show that dermal fibroblasts, displaying markers of senescence such as telomere damage, active checkpoint kinase ATM, high levels of heterochromatin proteins and elevated levels of p16, accumulate in skin biopsies from baboons with advancing age. The number of dermal fibroblasts containing damaged telomeres reaches a value of over 15% of total fibroblasts, whereas 80% of cells contain high levels of the heterochromatin protein HIRA. In skeletal muscle, a postmitotic tissue, only a small percentage of myonuclei containing damaged telomeres were detected regardless of animal age. The presence of senescent cells in mitotic tissues might therefore be a contributing factor to aging and age related pathology and provides further evidence that cellular senescence is a physiological event.
Senescence; telomeres; DNA damage; aging; p16; p21
In an initial preliminary screen we identified factors associated with controlling Drosophila aging by examining longevity in adults where EP elements induced over-expression or antisense-RNA at genes adjacent to each insertion. Here, we study 45 EP lines that initially showed at least 10% longer mean lifespan than controls. These 45 lines and a daughterless (da)-Gal4 stock were isogenized into a CS10 wild-type background. Sixteen EP lines corresponding to 15 genes significantly extended lifespan when their target genes were driven by da-Gal4. In each case, the target genes were seen to be over-expressed. Independently derived UAS-gene transgenic stocks were available or made for two candidates: ImpL2 which is ecdysone-inducible gene L2, and CG33138, 1,4-alpha-glucan branching enzyme. With both, adult lifespan was increased upon over-expression via the GeneSwitch inducible Gal4 driver system. Several genes in this set of 15 correspond to previously discovered longevity assurance systems such as insulin/IGF-1 signaling, gene silencing, and autophagy; others suggest new potential mechanisms for the control of aging including mRNA synthesis and maturation, intracellular vesicle trafficking, and neuroendocrine regulation.
Aging; Misexpression screen; Longevity genes; ImpL2
This experiment examined whether age-related changes in CREB and pCREB contribute to the rapid forgetting seen in aged animals. Young (3-month-old) and aged (24-month-old) Fischer-344 rats received inhibitory avoidance training with a low (0.2 mA, 0.4 sec) or moderate (0.5 mA, 0.5 sec) footshock; memory was measured 7 days later. Other rats were euthanized 30 minutes after training, and CREB and pCREB expression levels were examined in the hippocampus, amygdala, and piriform cortex using immunohistochemistry. CREB levels decreased with age in the hippocampus and amygdala. After training with either shock level, young rats exhibited good memory and increases in pCREB levels in the hippocampus and amygdala. Aged rats exhibited good memory for the moderate but not the low shock but did not show increases in pCREB levels after either shock intensity. These results suggest that decreases in total CREB and in pCREB activation in the hippocampus and amygdala may contribute to rapid forgetting in aged rats. After moderate footshock, the stable memory in old rats together with absence of CREB activation suggests either that CREB was phosphorylated in a spatiotemporal pattern other than analyzed here or that the stronger training conditions engaged alternate mechanisms that promote long-lasting memory.
Memory; CREB; hippocampus; amygdala; inhibitory avoidance
Exercise restores endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD) in old mice by reducing oxidative stress and increasing nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. Adenosine monophosphate protein kinase (AMPK) activation mimics some effects of exercise. Old (28–30 mo) B6D2F1 mice had reduced arterial AMPK expression and superoxide-mediated suppression of EDD vs. young (3–6 mo) controls. Pharmacological activation of AMPK by aminoimidazole carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR) for 2 weeks increased arterial AMPK and reversed this superoxide-induced impairment of EDD. The improvement in EDD was independent of NO or prostaglandin signaling, suggesting enhanced endothelium-dependent hyperpolarizing factor-related dilation. AMPK activation may represent a novel therapy for treating age-associated vascular dysfunction.
endothelium-dependent dilation; prostaglandins; endothelium-dependent hyperpolarizing factor
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, it is unclear if LTL has an etiologic role in CVD. To gain insight into the LTL and CVD relationship, a cohort study of CVD mortality and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in OBFC1 and TERC, genes related to LTL, was conducted among 3271 Caucasian participants ages ≥65 years enrolled 1989–1990 in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Leukocyte DNA was genotyped for SNPs in OBFC1 (rs4387287 and rs9419958) and TERC (rs3772190) that were previously associated with LTL through genome-wide association studies. Cox regression was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The OBFC1 SNPs were in linkage disequilibrium (r2=0.99), and both SNPs were similarly associated with CVD mortality in women. For women, there was a decreased risk of CVD death associated with the minor allele (rs4387287), HR=0.7; 95% CI: 0.5–0.9 (CC vs. AC) and HR=0.5; 95% CI: 0.20–1.4 (CC vs. AA) (p-trend <0.01). For men there was no association, HR=1.0; 95% CI: 0.7–1.3 (CC vs. AC) and HR=1.7; 95% CI: 0.8–3.6 (CC vs. AA) (p-trend=0.64). These findings support the hypothesis that telomere biology and associated genes may play a role in CVD-related death, particularly among women.
An efficient uncoupling process is generally considered to have a protective effect on the aging muscle by slowing down its age-related decay. Genetic polymorphisms in the Uncoupling Protein 3 (UCP3) gene, whose product is mainly expressed in skeletal muscle, were suggested to be associated with hand grip (HG) performances in elderly populations. Considering the population specificity of the quality of aging, we aimed to add further support to this evidence by analyzing the association between four SNPs in the UCP3 gene and relative haplotypes in two large cohorts of middle aged (N = 708) and oldest old Danes (N = 908). We found that the variability at rs1685354 and rs11235972 was associated with HG levels both at single and haplotypic level in both cohorts. Furthermore, taking advantage of large cohort and period survival data of the oldest cohort, we tested the association of each SNP with survival at 10 years from the baseline visit. Interestingly, we found that allele A at rs11235972, associated in this cohort with lowest HG scores, influences also the survival patterns, with people carrying this allele showing higher mortality rates. On the whole, our work supports the role of UCP3 gene in functional status and survival at old age.
Uncoupling proteins; Hand grip; Longevity
The somatic mutation theory of aging posits that the accumulation of mutations in the genetic material of somatic cells as a function of time results in a decrease in cellular function. In particular, the accumulation of random mutations inactivates genes that are important for the functioning of the somatic cells of various organ systems of the adult, which results in a decrease in organ function. When the organ function decreases below a critical level, death occurs. A significant amount of research has shown that somatic mutations play an important role in aging and a number of age related pathologies. In this review, we explore evidence for increases in somatic nuclear mutation burden with age and the consequences for aging, cancer, and neurodegeneration. We then review evidence for increases in mitochondrial mutation burden and the consequences for dysfunction in the disease processes.
Detailed structural, mutational, and biochemical analyses of human FEN1/DNA complexes have revealed the mechanism for recognition of 5′ flaps formed during lagging strand replication and DNA repair. FEN1 processes 5′ flaps through a previously unknown, but structurally elegant double-stranded (ds) recognition/single stranded (ss) incision mechanism that both selects for 5′ flaps and selects against ss DNA or RNA, intact dsDNA, and 3′ flaps. Two major DNA binding interfaces, including a K+ bridge between the DNA and the H2TH motif, are spaced one helical turn apart and together select for substrates with dsDNA. A conserved helical gateway and a helical cap protects the two-metal active site and selects for ss flaps with free termini. Structures of substrate and product reveal an unusual step between binding substrate and incision that involves a double base unpairing with incision occurring in the resulting unpaired DNA or RNA. Ordering of the active site requires a disorder-to-order transition induced by binding of an unpaired 3′ flap, which ensures that the product is ligatable. Comparison with FEN superfamily members, including XPG, EXO1, and GEN1, identifies superfamily motifs such as the helical gateway that select for ss-dsDNA junctions and provides key biological insights into nuclease specificity and regulation.
Structure-specific nuclease; two metal; DNA binding; replication; DNA repair; flap endonuclease
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), generated endogenously during respiration or exogenously by genotoxic agents, induce oxidized bases and single-strand breaks (SSBs) in DNA that are repaired via the base excision/SSB repair (BER/SSBR) pathway in both the nucleus and mitochondria. Tightly regulated BER/SSBR with multiple sub-pathways is highly complex, and is linked to the replication and transcription. The repair-initiating DNA glycosylases (DGs) or AP-endonuclease (APE1), control the sub-pathway by stably interacting with downstream proteins usually via their common interacting domain (CID). A nonconserved CID with disordered structure usually located at one of the termini, includes the sequences for covalent modifications and/or organelle targeting. While the DGs are individually dispensable, the SSBR-initiating APE1 and polynucleotide kinase 3′ phosphatase (PNKP), are essential. BER/SSBR of mammalian nuclear and mitochondrial genomes share the same early enzymes. Accumulation of oxidative damage in nuclear and mitochondrial genomes has been implicated in aging and various neurological disorders. While defects in BER/SSBR proteins have been linked to hereditary neurodegenerative diseases, our recent studies implicated transition metal-induced inhibition of NEIL family DGs in sporadic diseases. This review focuses on the recent advances in repair of oxidatively damages in mammalian genomes and their linkage to aging and neurological disorders.
DNA base excision repair; DNA glycosylases; single-strand break repair; protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions; aging; neurodegenerative disorders; reactive oxygen species
Activation of signaling pathways in response to genotoxic stress is crucial for cells to properly repair DNA damage. In response to DNA damage, intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species increase. One important function of such a response could be to initiate signal transduction processes. We have employed the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae to delineate DNA damage sensing mechanisms. We report a novel, unanticipated role for the transcription factor Yap1 as a DNA damage responder, providing direct evidence that reactive oxygen species are an important component of the DNA damage signaling process. Our findings reveal an epistatic link between Yap1 and the DNA base excision repair pathway. Corruption of the Yap1-mediated DNA damage response influences cell survival and genomic stability in response to exposure to genotoxic agents.
DNA damage signaling; Oxidative stress; Base excision repair; Reactive oxygen species; Genome instability
Retinoic acid (RA) is used in differentiation therapy to treat a variety of cancers including neuroblastoma. The contributing factors for its therapeutic efficacy are poorly understood. However, mitochondria (MT) have been implicated as key effectors in RA-mediated differentiation process. Here we utilize the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line as a model to examine how RA influences MT during the differentiation process. We find that RA confers an approximately 6-fold increase in the oxygen consumption rate while the rate of glycolysis modestly increases. RA treatment does not increase the number of MT or cause measurable changes in the composition of the electron transport chain. Rather, RA treatment significantly increases the mitochondrial spare respiratory capacity. We propose a competition model for the therapeutic effects of RA. Specifically, the high metabolic rate in differentiated cells limits the availability of metabolic nutrients for use by the undifferentiated cells and suppresses their growth. Thus, RA treatment provides a selective advantage for the differentiated state.
Retinoic acid; neuroblastoma; glycolysis; oxidative phosphorylation