MicroRNAs and the Aging Worm

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Science  23 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5756, pp. 1865
DOI: 10.1126/science.310.5756.1865f

MicroRNAs are present in diverse organisms, including humans, and control processes such as cell division and cell death. Boehm and Slack (p. 1954) now extend that repertoire of functions to include aging. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, lin-4, a microRNA that is a key regulator of the stage-specific timing of cell division patterns during the larval stage, also influences the life span and the pace of aging in the adult. The microRNA and its target, lin-14, act in insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1 signaling pathway to influence life span and the pace of aging. Loss of lin-4 shortens worm life span. A common mechanism thus serves to control the timing of two processes—development and aging.

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