CELL BIOLOGY: Aging Disgracefully

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Science  20 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5917, pp. 984b
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5917.984b

As we age, all too many aspects of our physique deteriorate—not just at the macroscopic scale of our limbs and organs, but also at the single-cell level. Nuclear pores allow for the transport of proteins and nucleic acids across the nuclear envelope, both from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and in the reverse direction, and are essential in normal trafficking processes involved in gene expression, cellular homeostasis, and growth. Nuclear pores are complexes of many individual protein components, some of which are extraordinarily long-lived. D'Angelo et al. have examined the characteristics of these complexes in aging postmitotic cells from Caenorhabditis elegans and from rodents, and find that as cells grow old, the lack of renewal of some nuclear pore components leads to the gradual deterioration of nuclear pore function. As a consequence, the nuclei of older cells become leaky, and proteins that would normally be excluded from the nucleus can be found within it. — SMH

Cell 136, 284 (2009).

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