• Correlation of Protein Homeostasis With Maximum Lifespans in Endothermic Vertebrates

      Salway, Kurtis; Department of Biological Sciences (2013-04-15)
      Cellular stress resistance has been shown to be highly correlated with longevity. However, the mechanisms conferring this stress resistance have yet to be identified. Maintenance of protein homeostasis is a critical component of cellular maintenance and stress resistance. Superior protein homeostasis capacities may thus underlie the greater stress resistance observed in longer-lived animals; however, little vertebrate data have been provided supporting this idea. I used two different experimental approaches to test the associations of protein homeostasis capacities with stress resistance and lifespan: 1) a comparison between a large set of vertebrate species with varying body masses and lifespans and 2) a comparison of long-lived Snell dwarf mice and their normal littermates. Protein homeostasis mechanisms including protein degradation activity, protein repair activity and molecular chaperone levels were examined. These measurements were performed in liver, heart and brain tissues, and isolated myoblasts. My results indicated that neither protein degradation nor protein repair were upregulated in association with enhanced stress resistance and longevity in an inter-species and intraspecies context. Furthermore, my results did show that there is a positive correlation between molecular chaperone levels and maximum lifespan (MLSP). However, there was no elevation of chaperone levels in the long-lived Snell dwarf mouse, indicating there are other mechanisms linked to their increased lifespan. Therefore, these results suggest that molecular chaperones are involved in increasing animal lifespan in an interspecies context.