TOR-driven aging: speeding car without brakes

Cell Cycle. 2009 Dec 15;8(24):4055-9. doi: 10.4161/cc.8.24.10310. Epub 2009 Dec 9.


This article discusses that the traditional analogy of an aging organism with a rusting (albeit self-repairing) car is misleading. The true analogy is a speeding car that enters a low-speed zone and damages itself because it does not and cannot slow down. For such a car without brakes (and actually without a driver), aging from rusting never occurs. Using simple analogies (although turning gerontology upside down), this article discusses the origin of aging, how overactivation of the mTOR (Target of Rapamycin) pathway causes aging, why aging causes damage (organ damage) not damage causes aging, the link between aging and age-related diseases, slow aging versus aging tolerance and suppression of aging with rapamycin.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Longevity / drug effects
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / physiology*
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus