The Telomeres-P53-pgc Aging Axis

This 2011 paper by Dr DePinho builds on previous papers and his theory of the “telomere-p53-PGC axis”. This is a big reason along with the work of Dr Michael Fossel I believe telomerase therapy is probably the best chance of radical life extension in the near future. This is one of a number of papers that implicate dysfunctional telomeres in a cascade that causes mitochondrial dysfunction and various other aging consequences.

Telomere–p53–PGC pathway (Source: Sahin E, DePinho RA. Axis of ageing: telomeres, p53 and mitochondria. Nature reviews Molecular cell biology. 2012;13(6):397-404. doi:10.1038/nrm3352.)

Telomere–p53–PGC pathway (Source: Sahin E, DePinho RA. Axis of ageing: telomeres, p53 and mitochondria. Nature reviews Molecular cell biology. 2012;13(6):397-404. doi:10.1038/nrm3352.)

ABSTRACT Telomere dysfunction activates p53-mediated cellular growth arrest, senescence and apoptosis to drive progressive atrophy and functional decline in high-turnover tissues. The broader adverse impact of telomere dysfunction across many tissues including more quiescent systems prompted transcriptomic network analyses to identify common mechanisms operative in haematopoietic stem cells, heart and liver. These unbiased studies revealed profound repression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha and beta (PGC-1α and PGC-1β, also known as Ppargc1a and Ppargc1b, respectively) and the downstream network in mice null for either telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) or telomerase RNA component (Terc) genes. Consistent with PGCs as master regulators of mitochondrial physiology and metabolism, telomere dysfunction is associated with impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and function, decreased gluconeogenesis, cardiomyopathy, and increased reactive oxygen species. In the setting of telomere dysfunction, enforced Tert or PGC-1α expression or germline deletion of p53 (also known as Trp53) substantially restores PGC network expression, mitochondrial respiration, cardiac function and gluconeogenesis. We demonstrate that telomere dysfunction activates p53 which in turn binds and represses PGC-1α and PGC-1β promoters, thereby forging a direct link between telomere and mitochondrial biology. We propose that this telomere-p53-PGC axis contributes to organ and metabolic failure and to diminishing organismal fitness in the setting of telomere dysfunction.

Avi Roy

- PhD student researching Aging, Mitochondria, and Regenerative Medicine - I currently write for The Conversation (http://bit.ly/13WVyUW) and I have written for The Guardian (http://bit.ly/13WVtRh) - Ringleader of the Oxford University Scientific Society - Co-conspirator at the Oxford Transhumanism and Emerging Technologies - Designing exciting events with the British Science Association Oxford - Advisory Board member at Lifeboat Foundation's Life Extension Board, and the Sustainability Board - Also, I am an Ultimate (frisbee) enthusiast - Yes, unfortunately that's me trying to catch the frisbee