Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and aging

Alexander Bürkle, Sascha Beneke, Marie-Laure Muiras
Experimental Gerontology 2004, 39 (11-12): 1599-601
Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is a DNA strand break-driven post-translational modification of proteins catalyzed by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), with NAD+ serving as substrate. Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is triggered by DNA strand breaks, is functionally associated with DNA repair pathways and is a survival factor for cells under low to moderate levels of genotoxic stress. We have previously described a positive correlation between poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation capacity of mononuclear blood cells with longevity of mammalian species. Our comparison of purified recombinant human and rat PARP-1 revealed that this correlation might be explained in part by evolutionary sequence divergence. We have also developed molecular genetic approaches to modulate the poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation status in living cells. Our results revealed that PARP-1 acts as a negative regulator of DNA damage-induced genomic instability, the latter being known as an important driving force for carcinogenesis. Our recent data obtained in transgenic mice with selective expression of a dominant negative version of PARP-1 in basal skin keratinocytes indicate that PARP-1 activity suppresses skin papilloma formation in a two-stage skin carcinogenesis protocol. It is tempting to speculate that increased poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation capacity in long-lived species might help retard the accumulation of DNA damage and of mutations and thus slow down the rate of aging and of carcinogenesis more efficiently as compared with short-lived animals.

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