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Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinase 1 Signaling Regulates Mammalian Life Span

Science  02 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5949, pp. 140-144
DOI: 10.1126/science.1177221

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Mimicking Caloric Restriction

The extended life span and resistance to age-related diseases in animals exposed to caloric restriction has focused attention on the biochemical mechanisms that produce these effects. Selman et al. (p. 140; see the Perspective by Kaeberlein and Kapahi) explored the role of the mammalian ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), which regulates protein translation and cellular energy metabolism. Female knockout mice lacking expression of S6K1 showed characteristics of animals exposed to caloric restriction, including improved health and increased longevity. The beneficial effects included reduced fat mass in spite of increased food intake. Thus, inhibition of signaling pathways activated by S6K1 might prove beneficial in protecting against age-related disease.

Abstract

Caloric restriction (CR) protects against aging and disease, but the mechanisms by which this affects mammalian life span are unclear. We show in mice that deletion of ribosomal S6 protein kinase 1 (S6K1), a component of the nutrient-responsive mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway, led to increased life span and resistance to age-related pathologies, such as bone, immune, and motor dysfunction and loss of insulin sensitivity. Deletion of S6K1 induced gene expression patterns similar to those seen in CR or with pharmacological activation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)–activated protein kinase (AMPK), a conserved regulator of the metabolic response to CR. Our results demonstrate that S6K1 influences healthy mammalian life-span and suggest that therapeutic manipulation of S6K1 and AMPK might mimic CR and could provide broad protection against diseases of aging.

  • * Present address: Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK.

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