Regulation of mRNA Translation as a Conserved Mechanism of Longevity Control

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Abstract

Appropriate regulation of mRNA translation is essential for growth and survival and the pathways that regulate mRNA translation have been highly conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution. Translation is controlled by a complex set of mechanisms acting at multiple levels, ranging from global protein synthesis to individual mRNAs. Recently, several mutations that perturb regulation of mRNA translation have also been found to increase longevity in three model organisms: the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Many of these translation control factors can be mapped to a single pathway downstream of the nutrient responsive target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase. In this chapter, we will review the data suggesting that mRNA translation is an evolutionarily conserved modifier of longevity and discuss potential mechanisms by which mRNA translation could influence aging and age-associated disease in different species.