Mair W, Morantte I, Rodrigues AP, Manning G, Montminy M, Shaw RJ, Dillin A.
Lifespan extension induced by AMPK and calcineurin is mediated by CRTC-1 and CREB.
Nature. 2011 Feb 17;470(7334):404-8.
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Calcineurin is increasingly recognized for its important roles in brain aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Several recent studies have shown that neural calcineurin signaling is augmented in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (e.g., 1-3) and in human subjects with AD (2,4,5) or mild cognitive impairment (5,6), contributing to synapse dysfunction (e.g., 3), neuroinflammation (e.g., 1,7), amyloidosis (e.g., 8), impaired memory (e.g., 2), and neurodegeneration in general. The new article by Mair et al. provides important confirmation of earlier studies that reported a negative impact of calcineurin activity on longevity in C. elegans. Moreover, Mair et al. provide compelling evidence that calcineurin regulates lifespan as part of a molecular pathway involving AMPK, CRTC-1, CREB, and possibly other signaling components related to ER stress. It will be critical to further characterize these molecular interactions and their functional outcomes in mammalian models of aging and AD, especially given the vast number of interspecies differences in cellular metabolism, gene regulation, and overall biological complexity. Nevertheless, Virginia Lee and John Trojanowski’s group recently showed that systemic delivery of the calcineurin inhibitor, FK-506, increases lifespan in a mouse model of tauopathy (7), indicating that calcineurin’s role in longevity may indeed be conserved between C. elegans and mammals.
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