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  • de Grey ADNJ, Ames BN, Andersen JK, Bartke A, Campisi J, Heward CB, McCarter RJM, Stock G. Time to talk SENS: critiquing the immutability of human aging. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2002;959:452-462. PubMed: 11976218. Categories: SENS Overviews

    Time to talk SENS: critiquing the immutability of human aging.

    Ann N Y Acad Sci 2002;959:452-462.

    Time to talk SENS: critiquing the immutability of human aging.

    de Grey ADNJ, Ames BN, Andersen JK, Bartke A, Campisi J, Heward CB, McCarter RJM, Stock G.

    Abstract

    Abstract:

    Aging is a three-stage process: metabolism, damage, and pathology. The biochemical processes that sustain life generate toxins as an intrinsic side effect. These toxins cause damage, of which a small proportion cannot be removed by any endogenous repair process and thus accumulates. This accumulating damage ultimately drives age-related degeneration. Interventions can be designed at all three stages. However, intervention in metabolism can only modestly postpone pathology, because production of toxins is so intrinsic a property of metabolic processes that greatly reducing that production would entail fundamental redesign of those processes. Similarly, intervention in pathology is a "losing battle" if the damage that drives it is accumulating unabated. By contrast, intervention to remove the accumulating damage would sever the link between metabolism and pathology, and so has the potential to postpone aging indefinitely. We survey the major categories of such damage and the ways in which, with current or foreseeable biotechnology, they could be reversed. Such ways exist in all cases, implying that indefinite postponement of aging--which we term "engineered negligible senescence"--may be within sight. Given the major demographic consequences if it came about, this possibility merits urgent debate.

  • de Grey ADNJ. Bioremediation meets biomedicine: therapeutic translation of microbial catabolism to the lysosome. Trends Biotechnol 2002;20(11):452-455. PubMed: 12413818. Categories: LysoSENS

    Bioremediation meets biomedicine: therapeutic translation of microbial catabolism to the lysosome.

    Trends Biotechnol 2002;20(11):452-455.

    Bioremediation meets biomedicine: therapeutic translation of microbial catabolism to the lysosome.

    de Grey ADNJ.

    Abstract

    Abstract:

    Lysosomal degradation of damaged macromolecules is imperfect: many cell types accumulate lysosomal aggregates with age. Some such deposits are known, or are strongly suspected, to cause age-related disorders such as atherosclerosis and neurodegeration. It is possible that they also influence the rate of aging in general. Lysosomal degradation involves extensive cooperation between the participating enzymes: each generates a substrate for others until breakdown of the target material to recyclable units (such as amino acids) is complete. Hence, the age-related accumulation of lysosomal aggregates might be markedly retarded, or even reversed, by introducing just a few bacterial or fungal enzymes -'xenohydrolases' - that can degrade molecules that our natural machinery cannot. This article examines the feasibility and biomedical potential of such lysosomal enhancement as an approach to retarding or treating age-related physiological decline and disease.

  • de Grey ADNJ. Mitochondrial gene therapy: an arena for the biomedical use of inteins. Trends Biotechnol 2000;18(9):394-399. PubMed: 10942964. Categories: MitoSENS

    Mitochondrial gene therapy: an arena for the biomedical use of inteins.

    Trends Biotechnol 2000;18(9):394-399.

    Mitochondrial gene therapy: an arena for the biomedical use of inteins.

    de Grey ADNJ.

    Abstract

    Abstract:

    Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations underlie many rare diseases and might also contribute to human ageing. Gene therapy is a tempting future possibility for intervening in mitochondriopathies. Expression of the 13 mtDNA-encoded proteins from nuclear transgenes (allotopic expression) might be the most effective gene-therapy strategy. Its only confirmed difficulty is the extreme hydrophobicity of these proteins, which prevents their import into mitochondria from the cytosol. Inteins (self-splicing 'protein introns') might offer a solution to this problem: their insertion into such transgenes could greatly reduce the encoded proteins' hydrophobicity, enabling import, with post-import excision restoring the natural amino acid sequence.

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