Age-associated increase in lifespan of naive CD4 T cells contributes to T-cell homeostasis but facilitates development of functional defects.
ABSTRACT: With age, T-cell generation from the thymus is much reduced, yet a substantial naïve T-cell pool is maintained even in aged animals, suggesting that naïve T cells either persist longer or turn over faster to maintain T-cell homeostasis. We found that with age, naïve CD4 T cells became progressively longer-lived. Their longer lifespan did not depend on recognition of self-peptide/class II. Newly generated naïve T cells derived from aged stem cells had a shorter lifespan, like that of young naïve T cells. Conversely, naïve CD4 T cells derived from middle-aged thymectomized mice were longer-lived in vivo, and their development of functional defects was accelerated. These observations suggest that naïve T cells develop their longer lifespan during their sojourn in the periphery. Increased longevity of naïve CD4 T cells correlated well with reduced expression of proapoptotic molecule Bim. We suggest that the intrinsic increase in longevity helps maintain naïve T-cell homeostasis but facilitates the development of functional defects in mice.
Project description:With age, peripheral naive CD4 T cells become both longer lived and functionally impaired and they express reduced levels of Bim, a proapoptotic Bcl family member. In this study, we show that reduced Bim expression by naive CD4 T cells intrinsically mediates their longer lifespan in the periphery. Moreover, using mixed bone marrow chimeras reconstituted with Bim(+/+) and Bim(+/-) bone marrow cells, Bim(+/-) naive CD4 T cells exhibit accelerated development of age-associated dysfunctions, including reduced proliferation and IL-2 production and defective helper function for B cells, without any increase in their turnover. However, newly generated Bim(+/-) naive CD4 T cells in middle-aged mice are not defective, indicating an additional requirement for their persistence in the periphery. These age-associated immune defects develop independently of the "aged" host environment and without extensive division, distinguishing them from classic "senescence." We suggest that the reduction of Bim levels with age in naive CD4 T cell is the initiating step that leads to increased cellular lifespan and development of age-associated functional defects.
Project description:Dysregulation of splicing factor expression and altered alternative splicing are associated with aging in humans and other species, and also with replicative senescence in cultured cells. Here, we assess whether expression changes of key splicing regulator genes and consequent effects on alternative splicing are also associated with strain longevity in old and young mice, across 6 different mouse strains with varying lifespan (A/J, NOD.B10Sn-H2(b) /J, PWD.Phj, 129S1/SvlmJ, C57BL/6J and WSB/EiJ). Splicing factor expression and changes to alternative splicing were associated with strain lifespan in spleen and to a lesser extent in muscle. These changes mainly involved hnRNP splicing inhibitor transcripts with most changes more marked in spleens of young animals from long-lived strains. Changes in spleen isoform expression were suggestive of reduced cellular senescence and retained cellular proliferative capacity in long-lived strains. Changes in muscle isoform expression were consistent with reduced pro-inflammatory signalling in longer-lived strains. Two splicing regulators, HNRNPA1 and HNRNPA2B1, were also associated with parental longevity in humans, in the InCHIANTI aging study. Splicing factors may represent a driver, mediator or early marker of lifespan in mouse, as expression differences were present in the young animals of long-lived strains. Changes to alternative splicing patterns of key senescence genes in spleen and key remodelling genes in muscle suggest that correct regulation of alternative splicing may enhance lifespan in mice. Expression of some splicing factors in humans was also associated with parental longevity, suggesting that splicing regulation may also influence lifespan in humans.
Project description:Naïve FoxP3-expressing regulatory T-cells (Tregs) are essential to control immune responses via continuous replenishment of the activated-Treg pool with thymus-committed suppressor cells. The mechanisms underlying naïve-Treg maintenance throughout life in face of the age-associated thymic involution remain unclear. We found that in adults thymectomized early in infancy the naïve-Treg pool is remarkably well preserved, in contrast to conventional naïve CD4 T-cells. Naïve-Tregs featured high levels of cycling and pro-survival markers, even in healthy individuals, and contrasted with other circulating naïve/memory CD4 T-cell subsets in terms of their strong ?c-cytokine-dependent signaling, particularly in response to IL-7. Accordingly, ex-vivo stimulation of naïve-Tregs with IL-7 induced robust cytokine-dependent signaling, Bcl-2 expression, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent proliferation, whilst preserving naïve phenotype and suppressive capacity. Altogether, our data strongly implicate IL-7 in the thymus-independent long-term survival of functional naïve-Tregs, and highlight the potential of targeting the IL-7 pathway to modulate Tregs in different clinical settings.
Project description:In mice, recent thymic emigrants (RTEs) make up a large part of the naïve T cell pool and have been suggested to be a distinct short-lived pool. In humans, however, the life span and number of RTEs are unknown. Although (2)H(2)O labeling in young mice showed high thymic-dependent daily naïve T cell production, long term up- and down-labeling with (2)H(2)O in human adults revealed a low daily production of naïve T cells. Using mathematical modeling, we estimated human naïve CD4 and CD8 T cell half-lives of 4.2 and 6.5 years, respectively, whereas memory CD4 and CD8 T cells had half-lives of 0.4 and 0.7 year. The estimated half-life of recently produced naïve T cells was much longer than these average half-lives. Thus, our data are incompatible with a substantial short-lived RTE population in human adults and suggest that the few naïve T cells that are newly produced are preferentially incorporated in the peripheral pool.
Project description:Lifespan varies dramatically among species, but the biological basis is not well understood. Previous studies in model organisms revealed the importance of nutrient sensing, mTOR, NAD/sirtuins, and insulin/IGF1 signaling in lifespan control. By studying life-history traits and transcriptomes of 14 Drosophila species differing more than sixfold in lifespan, we explored expression divergence and identified genes and processes that correlate with longevity. These longevity signatures suggested that longer-lived flies upregulate fatty acid metabolism, downregulate neuronal system development and activin signaling, and alter dynamics of RNA splicing. Interestingly, these gene expression patterns resembled those of flies under dietary restriction and several other lifespan-extending interventions, although on the individual gene level, there was no significant overlap with genes previously reported to have lifespan-extension effects. We experimentally tested the lifespan regulation potential of several candidate genes and found no consistent effects, suggesting that individual genes generally do not explain the observed longevity patterns. Instead, it appears that lifespan regulation across species is modulated by complex relationships at the system level represented by global gene expression.
Project description:Variation in human lifespan is 20 to 30% heritable in twins but few genetic variants have been identified. We undertook a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) using age at death of parents of middle-aged UK Biobank participants of European decent (n=75,244 with father's and/or mother's data, excluding early deaths). Genetic risk scores for 19 phenotypes (n=777 proven variants) were also tested. In GWAS, a nicotine receptor locus(CHRNA3, previously associated with increased smoking and lung cancer) was associated with fathers' survival. Less common variants requiring further confirmation were also identified. Offspring of longer lived parents had more protective alleles for coronary artery disease, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and Alzheimer's disease. In candidate analyses, variants in the TOMM40/APOE locus were associated with longevity, but FOXO variants were not. Associations between extreme longevity (mother >=98 years, fathers >=95 years, n=1,339) and disease alleles were similar, with an additional association with HDL cholesterol (p=5.7x10-3). These results support a multiple protective factors model influencing lifespan and longevity (top 1% survival) in humans, with prominent roles for cardiovascular-related pathways. Several of these genetically influenced risks, including blood pressure and tobacco exposure, are potentially modifiable.
Project description:Selection on intrinsic lifespan depends on both external factors affecting mortality and inherent tradeoffs in resource allocation between viability traits and other fitness-related traits. Longevity is therefore likely to vary between species in a sex-specific manner due to interspecific and intersexual differences in behavioural ecology. Here I focus on the bovid family to test two central hypotheses on longevity selection using the comparative method: firstly, that a reduction of extrinsic mortality in social species strengthens selection on intrinsic lifespan, and secondly, that mortality costs associated with intense sexual selection lead to shorter intrinsic lifespan. The results show that longevity (i) increases with sociality in both sexes and (ii) decreases with male-biased sexual size-dimorphism, but in males only. These discoveries suggest that sociality, a key ungulate strategy to reduce predation-related mortality, selects for inherently longer-lived organisms, and that strong sexual selection, which is known to compromise survival rates in the wild, can constrain also intrinsic lifespan. The contrasting results for males and females indicate that selection on longevity in the two sexes is partly uncoupled.
Project description:Species-specific limits to lifespan (lifespan setpoint) determine the life expectancy of any given organism. Whether limiting lifespan provides an evolutionary benefit or is the result of an inevitable decline in fitness remains controversial. The identification of mutations extending lifespan suggests that aging is under genetic control, but the evolutionary driving forces limiting lifespan have not been defined. By examining the impact of lifespan on pathogen spread in a population, we propose that epidemics drive lifespan setpoints' evolution. Shorter lifespan limits infection spread and accelerates pathogen clearance when compared to populations with longer-lived individuals. Limiting longevity is particularly beneficial in the context of zoonotic transmissions, where pathogens must undergo adaptation to a new host. Strikingly, in populations exposed to pathogens, shorter-living variants outcompete individuals with longer lifespans. We submit that infection outbreaks can contribute to control the evolution of species' lifespan setpoints.
Project description:AbstractReproduction and diet are two major factors controlling the physiology of aging and life history, but how they interact to affect the evolution of longevity is unknown. Moreover, although studies of large?effect mutants suggest an important role of nutrient sensing pathways in regulating aging, the genetic basis of evolutionary changes in lifespan remains poorly understood. To address these questions, we analyzed the genomes of experimentally evolved Drosophila melanogaster populations subjected to a factorial combination of two selection regimes: reproductive age (early versus postponed), and diet during the larval stage (“low,” “control,” “high”), resulting in six treatment combinations with four replicate populations each. Selection on reproductive age consistently affected lifespan, with flies from the postponed reproduction regime having evolved a longer lifespan. In contrast, larval diet affected lifespan only in early?reproducing populations: flies adapted to the “low” diet lived longer than those adapted to control diet. Here, we find genomic evidence for strong independent evolutionary responses to either selection regime, as well as loci that diverged in response to both regimes, thus representing genomic interactions between the two. Overall, we find that the genomic basis of longevity is largely independent of dietary adaptation. Differentiated loci were not enriched for “canonical” longevity genes, suggesting that naturally occurring genic targets of selection for longevity differ qualitatively from variants found in mutant screens. Comparing our candidate loci to those from other “evolve and resequence” studies of longevity demonstrated significant overlap among independent experiments. This suggests that the evolution of longevity, despite its presumed complex and polygenic nature, might be to some extent convergent and predictable.
Project description:A quantitative trait locus (QTL) in the nematode C. elegans, "lsq4," was recently implicated by mapping longevity genes. QTLs for lifespan and three stress-resistance traits coincided within a span of <300 kbp, later narrowed to <200 kbp. A single gene in this interval is now shown to modulate all lsq4-associated traits. Full-genome analysis of transcript levels indicates that lsq4 contains a dimorphic gene governing the expression of many sperm-specific genes, suggesting an effect on spermatogenesis. Quantitative analysis of allele-specific transcripts encoded within the lsq4 interval revealed significant, 2- to 15-fold expression differences for 10 of 33 genes. Fourteen "dual-candidate" genes, implicated by both position and expression, were tested for RNA-interference effects on QTL-linked traits. In a strain carrying the shorter-lived allele, knockdown of rec-8 (encoding a meiotic cohesin) reduced its transcripts 4-fold, to a level similar to the longer-lived strain, while extending lifespan 25-26%, whether begun before fertilization or at maturity. The short-lived lsq4 allele also conferred sensitivity to oxidative and thermal stresses, and lower male frequency (reflecting X-chromosome non-disjunction), traits reversed uniquely by rec-8 knockdown. A strain bearing the longer-lived lsq4 allele, differing from the short-lived strain at <0.3% of its genome, derived no lifespan or stress-survival benefit from rec-8 knockdown. We consider two possible explanations: high rec-8 expression may include increased "leaky" expression in mitotic cells, leading to deleterious destabilization of somatic genomes; or REC-8 may act entirely in germ-line meiotic cells to reduce aberrations such as non-disjunction, thereby blunting a stress-resistance response mediated by innate immunity. Replicative lifespan was extended 20% in haploid S. cerevisiae (BY4741) by deletion of REC8, orthologous to nematode rec-8, implying that REC8 disruption of mitotic-cell survival is widespread, exemplifying antagonistic pleiotropy (opposing effects on lifespan vs. reproduction), and/or balancing selection wherein genomic disruption increases genetic variation under harsh conditions.