Editor's Summary

22 February 2007

A new factor in ageing


Ageing in many organisms, including humans, is accompanied by marked alterations in protein synthesis, though whether these alterations are a by-product of the ageing process or have a causative role in senescent decline is not clear. The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) is a principal regulator of protein synthesis, and it has now been found to be part of a pathway influencing ageing in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Specifically, depletion of a form of eIF4E found in somatic cells (body cells) of C. elegans extends lifespan, reduces protein synthesis and protects from oxidative stress. The finding suggests that eIF4E may be part of a mechanism that modulates tissue ageing by integrating environmental, reproductive and other cues to regulate protein synthesis and tissue maintenance.

LettereIF4E function in somatic cells modulates ageing in Caenorhabditis elegans

Popi Syntichaki, Kostoula Troulinaki and Nektarios Tavernarakis

doi:10.1038/nature05603