TOR and ageing: a complex pathway for a complex process

Mark A. McCormick, Shih-yin Tsai, Brian K. Kennedy

Abstract

Studies in invertebrate model organisms have led to a wealth of knowledge concerning the ageing process. But which of these discoveries will apply to ageing in humans? Recently, an assessment of the degree of conservation of ageing pathways between two of the leading invertebrate model organisms, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans, was completed. The results (i) quantitatively indicated that pathways were conserved between evolutionarily disparate invertebrate species and (ii) emphasized the importance of the TOR kinase pathway in ageing. With recent findings that deletion of the mTOR substrate S6K1 or exposure of mice to the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin result in lifespan extension, mTOR signalling has become a major focus of ageing research. Here, we address downstream targets of mTOR signalling and their possible links to ageing. We also briefly cover other ageing genes identified by comparing worms and yeast, addressing the likelihood that their mammalian counterparts will affect longevity.

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