[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging can be defined as a process of progressive decline in the physiological capacity of an organism, manifested by accumulated alteration and destabilization at the whole system level. Systems biology approaches offer a promising new perspective to examine the old problem of aging. We begin this review by introducing the concepts of systems biology, and then illustrate the application of systems biology approaches to aging research, from gene expression profiling to network analysis. We then introduce the network that can be constructed using known lifespan and aging regulators, and conclude with a look forward to the future of systems biology in aging research. In summary, systems biology is not only a young field that may help us understand aging at a higher level, but also an important platform that can link different levels of knowledge on aging, moving us closer to a more comprehensive control of systematic decline during aging.
Current Genomics 11/2012; 13(7):558-65. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic modifications are thought to be important for gene expression changes during development and aging. However, besides the Sir2 histone deacetylase in somatic tissues and H3K4 trimethylation in germlines, there is scant evidence implicating epigenetic regulations in aging. The insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway is a major life span regulatory pathway. Here, we show that progressive increases in gene expression and loss of H3K27me3 on IIS components are due, at least in part, to increased activity of the H3K27 demethylase UTX-1 during aging. RNAi of the utx-1 gene extended the mean life span of C. elegans by ~30%, dependent on DAF-16 activity and not additive in daf-2 mutants. The loss of utx-1 increased H3K27me3 on the Igf1r/daf-2 gene and decreased IIS activity, leading to a more "naive" epigenetic state. Like stem cell reprogramming, our results suggest that reestablishment of epigenetic marks lost during aging might help "reset" the developmental age of animal cells.