Protein turnover plays a key role in aging

Mech Ageing Dev. 2002 Jan;123(2-3):207-13. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(01)00337-2.


Although the molecular mechanism of aging is unknown, a progressive increase with age in the concentration of damaged macromolecules, especially proteins, is likely to play a central role in senescent decline. In this paper, we discuss evidence that the progressive decrease in protein synthesis and turnover can be the primary cause of the increase in the concentration of damaged proteins with age. Conversely, protein damage itself is likely to be the cause of the decrease in protein turnover. This could establish a positive feedback loop where the increase in protein damage decreases the protein turnover rate, leading to a further increase in the concentration of damaged proteins. The establishment of such a feedback loop should result in an exponential increase in the amount of protein damage-a protein damage catastrophe-that could be the basis of the general deterioration observed in senescent organisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Proteins