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Advanced Glycation of Cellular Proteins as a Possible Basic Component of the “Master Biological Clock”

F. F. Severin1,2, B. A. Feniouk2,3, and V. P. Skulachev1,2,3*

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, 119991 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: skulach@genebee.msu.ru

2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Mitoengineering, 119992 Moscow, Russia

3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received May 23, 2013
During the last decade, evidence has been accumulating supporting the hypothesis that aging is genetically programmed and, therefore, precisely timed. This hypothesis poses a question: what is the mechanism of the biological clock that controls aging? Measuring the level of the advanced glycation end products (AGE) is one of the possible principles underlying the functioning of the biological clock. Protein glycation is an irreversible, non-enzymatic, and relatively slow process. Moreover, many types of cells have receptors that can measure AGE level. We propose the existence of a protein that has a lifespan comparable to that of the whole organism. Interaction of the advanced glycation end product generated from this protein with a specific AGE receptor might initiate apoptosis in a vitally important non-regenerating tissue that produces a primary juvenile hormone. This could result in the age-dependent decrease in the level of this hormone leading to aging of the organism.
KEY WORDS: biological clock, aging, protein glycation, melatonin, juvenile hormone, AGE, RAGE

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297913090101