Mouse Longevity Genes

Gene Known or Proposed Function prop-1 The protein product is regulator of a pituitary-specific transcription factor (PIT-1). Inactivation leads to poor development of the pituitary and production of pituitary hormones, particularly growth hormone. Mutated prop-1 increases life span by about 50 percent. pit-1 This gene codes for PIT-1, a protein transcription factor. The inactivation of pit-1 has the same effect as a prop-1 mutation. p66shc The protein product is a component of a signal transduction pathway that makes cells resistant to apoptosis and oxidative stress.

where it performs a longevity function. Consequently, human lag-1 may be thought of as a human longevity gene, although much work is needed to confirm its function in humans.

Perhaps the most striking similarity between longevity genes in humans and lower organisms is the yeast sgs-1 gene and the human wrn gene. The sgs-1 gene codes for a helicase and, when mutated, can accelerate the aging process. Werner's syndrome, described previously, is a disease in humans that is also associated with accelerated aging. The gene responsible for this disease, called wrn, has been identified. The protein product of the wrn gene is a helicase, not the same helicase encoded by the sgs-1 gene, but a member of the same family, possessing a similar function. Mutations in these two genes provide dramatic evidence in support of the connection between life span and genetic stability.

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