Autophagy is a mechanism to selectively degrade damaged proteins from cells and organelles in the lysosome. A research group at CAS Institute of Zoology has investigated peripheral blood leukocyte transcriptome data of 171 longevity families in Hainan (centenarians, their F1 offspring and spouses of F1 offspring) and found the up-regulation of autophagy – lysosomal signal pathway genes the most significant signal. Four related genes (CTSB ATP6V0C WIPI1 and ATG4D) are also upregulated in human embryonic lung fibroblasts possibly enhancing autophagy and reducing senescence. An overexpression of Atg18a, a related gene in Drosophila melanogaster led to a significant extension of the lifespan of Drosophila.

CAS news release, November 11, 2ß18