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RNA-binding Proteins and Aging

Posted March 1, 2012
This news or article is intended for readers with certain scientific or professional knowledge in the field.

Gene expression patterns vary dramatically in a tissue-specific and age-dependent manner. RNA-binding proteins that regulate mRNA turnover and/or translation (TTR-RBPs) critically affect the subsets of expressed proteins. However, very little is known regarding the tissue- and age-dependent expression of TTR-RBPs in humans.

Scientists used human tissue arrays containing a panel of organ biopsies from donors of different ages, to study the distribution and abundance of four TTR-RBPs: HuR, AUF1, TIA-1, and TTP. HuR and AUF1 were expressed with remarkably similar patterns. Both TTR-RBPs were present in high percentages of cells and displayed elevated intensities in many age groups and tissues, most notably in the gastrointestinal and reproductive systems; they were moderately expressed in the urinary and immune systems, and were almost undetectable in muscle and brain.

TIA-1 was also abundant in many tissues and age groups; TIA-1 was expressed at high levels in the gastrointestinal, immune, urinary, and reproductive systems, and at low levels in brain and muscle. By contrast, TTP-expressing cells, as well as TTP signal intensities declined with advancing age, particularly in the immune, nervous, and muscular systems; however, TTP levels remained elevated in the gastrointestinal tract.

The widespread abundance of HuR, AUF1, and TIA-1 throughout the body and in all age groups was in stark contrast with their declining levels in human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs) undergoing replicative senescence, a cultured-cell model of aging. Conversely, TTP levels increased in senescent HDFs, while TTP levels decreased with advancing age.

These studies provide a framework for the study of human TTR-RBP function in different tissues, throughout the human life span.

Source: Innovita Research Foundation.

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