Gene Regulation

MicroRNAs and the Aging Worm

Science's STKE  03 Jan 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 316, pp. tw466
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3162006tw466

MicroRNAs are present in diverse organisms, including humans, and control processes such as cell division and cell death. Boehm et al. now extend that repertoire of functions to include aging. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, lin-4, a microRNA that is a key regulator of the stage-specific timing of cell division patterns during the larval stage, also influences the life span and the pace of aging in the adult. The microRNA and its target, lin-14, act in the insulin/insulin growth factor-1 signaling pathway to influence life span and the pace of aging. Loss of lin-4 shortens worm life span. A common mechanism thus serves to control the timing of two processes--development and aging.

M. Boehm, F. Slack, A developmental timing microRNA and its target regulate life span in C. elegans. Science 310, 1954-1957 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]