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Age (Dordr). 2011 Mar;33(1):33-47. doi: 10.1007/s11357-010-9157-5. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Enhanced protein repair and recycling are not correlated with longevity in 15 vertebrate endotherm species.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.


Previous studies have shown that longevity is associated with enhanced cellular stress resistance. This observation supports the disposable soma theory of aging, which suggests that the investment made in cellular maintenance will be proportional to selective pressures to extend lifespan. Maintenance of protein homeostasis is a critical component of cellular maintenance and stress resistance. To test the hypothesis that enhanced protein repair and recycling activities underlie longevity, we measured the activities of the 20S/26S proteasome and two protein repair enzymes in liver, heart and brain tissues of 15 different mammalian and avian species with maximum lifespans (MLSP) ranging from 3 to 30 years. The data set included Snell dwarf mice, in which lifespan is increased by ∼50% compared to their normal littermates. None of these activities in any of the three tissues correlated positively with MLSP. In liver, 20S/26S proteasome and thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) activities correlated negatively with body mass. In brain tissue, TrxR was also negatively correlated with body mass. Glutaredoxin (Grx) activity in brain was negatively correlated with MLSP and this correlation remained after residual analysis to remove the effects of body mass, but was lost when the data were analysed using Felsenstein's independent contrasts. Snell dwarf mice had marginally lower 20S proteasome, TrxR and Grx activities than normal controls in brain, but not heart tissue. Thus, increased longevity is not associated with increased protein repair or proteasomal degradation capacities in vertebrate endotherms.

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