Cell Biology

Haste Makes Waste

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Science  26 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6131, pp. 408
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6131.408-c

mTORC1 is a protein kinase complex that regulates many biological processes, including cell growth and proliferation, and that has a primary role in the control of protein synthesis. Inhibition of mTORC1 increases life span, and partial inhibition of translation mimics the effect on life span, indicating that effects of mTORC1 on life span might be related to effects on protein synthesis. Conn and Qian present a mechanism by which reduced rates of protein synthesis might extend life span. They found essentially that haste makes waste. When mTORC1 activity was high and cells synthesized polypeptides rapidly, the stability of a newly synthesized fluorescent reporter protein was diminished. Inhibition of mTORC1, on the other hand, slowed protein synthesis through effects on translation initiation and elongation, and improved the fidelity of the process. Slower translation may allow more time for correct tRNA pairing or for cotranslational processes that promote proper folding and may thus result in fewer misincorporated amino acids or misfolded proteins, either of which would tend to reduce protein stability.

Sci. Signal. 6, ra24 (2013).

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