Khalyavkin A.V. 1,2, Krutko V.N. 2
1 Institute of Biochemical Physics of RAS, Moscow, Russia
In accordance with classic genetic theories of senescence aging events are connected with either mutation accumulation or antagonistic pleiotropy. On the other hand the modern conceptions of genetic mechanisms controlling longevity and rate of aging claim that senescence is consequence of age-dependent changes in expression of set of genes, products of which are involved in a big and cross-talking net of specific signal transduction pathways. We know now that gene activity is dependent on the microenvironment in which it is expressed. In turn, the features of this microenvironment are highly connecting with macro-environment via sensor systems of an organism. Potentially agelessness of the somatic stem cells and an evaluation of theoretically attainable minimal rate of aging realizable in environmental conditions, which induce organisms to function optimally, as well as an analysis of the all findings taken as a whole, shows that they are compatible with the hypothesis that adequate living conditions are conducive to a significant deceleration of the human aging process. Moreover the newest findings indicate that in adequate internal milieu even senescent mitochondria, lens, stem cells, mature neurons etc. can fully restore lost status quo. The interplay of genetic makeup and environmental influences is known to be complex, with important consequences for the development and maintenance of living beings' phenotypes. Therefore fundamental to evolutionary biology is the tendency for organisms to become increasingly adapted to those environments to which they are most commonly exposed. For this reason study of natural aging by means of observation of animals in captivity as well as human beings in highly comfortable conditions will be misleading. Recent findings emphasize the importance of signaling in the regulation of life history traits. This opens an opportunity to modulate organisms’ aging and life span without changing environmental conditions towards more adequate ones in laboratory experiments. In fact, modified products of properly mutated genes involved in regulatory control circuits can mistakenly transform non-adequate external cues of artificial experimental conditions to the regular reaction of an organism on the quite natural environment. The latter may favor the life span extension by means of aging deceleration and an increase in stress resistance. The studies of such genetic modifications are important as they provide a unique view on the mechanisms of life span determination. They may also shed light on possible range of plasticity for both the rate of aging and stress resistance – the two areas of research that are crucial in understanding of the nature of longevity and mechanisms of its modulation by external and internal factors.