Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Identification of Novel Lipid Species Generated by Autophagy that Promote Longevity

Shuhei Nakamura, Ph.D. | Osaka University; Mark McCormick, Ph.D. | University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center; Gareth Lim, Ph.D. | Université de Montréal
Competition Sponsor: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
Awardee Year: 2020

Evolutionally-conserved molecular mechanisms that extend lifespan have been identified in model organisms, including yeast, worms, flies and mice. These include reduced Insulin/IGF-1 and TOR signaling, dietary restriction, and reduced mitochondrial respiration. Recent studies suggest that an activation of a cytoplasmic degradation system, autophagy is a convergent downstream cellular process common to these pro-longevity paradigms, but how it promotes longevity is largely unclear. Based on several lines of evidence suggesting an intimate relationship between autophagy and lipid metabolism, we hypothesize that lipid species generated by autophagy could extend animal lifespan and health span. Our interdisciplinary collaborative team (Dr. Shuhei Nakamura, Japan, Dr. Gareth Lim, Canada, and Dr. Mark McCormick, U.S.A.) will identify specific fat species which extend animal lifespan. Furthermore, we will examine the underlying molecular mechanism(s) of how fat species can extend lifespan. The long-term goal is to apply these findings to a translational study to test in human subjects.

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