Age-Related Changes of Transcription and RNA Processing

  • Z. A. Medvedev


Among the three main groups of biological macromolecules uniquely linked by transfer and expression of genetic information: (DNA - RNA - Proteins), the RNA stage is the least studied for possible age-related changes. There have been many recent reviews about age-related changes of DNA and proteins, or DNA- protein complexes in chromatin. Recently however, there has been only one review on the role of RNA and RNA metabolism in aging (Rothstein 1982), and a brief supplement to it (Eichhorn 1983) which summarizes the available experimental data up to 1980 on the age-related changes of the synthesis of different types of RNA (rRNA, mRNA, and tRNA). The authors have not linked factual information with several relevant theories of aging [genetic program theory, codon-restriction theory, loss of rRNA genes theory, loss of gene repression theory (dysdifferentiation), general error theory, and others which cannot be proved without special study of transcription and RNA] simply because the information about the age-related changes of RNA is very limited and too general. There have recently been two reviews on the age-related changes of chromatin (Thakur 1984; Medvedev 1984), which also included attempts to cover the connected problems of age-related changes of DNA and the pattern of transcription. Here we would like to select the role of RNA in the aging process for more detailed analysis. The amount of knowledge in this field has not increased dramatically during the last 3–4 years, although there have been many quite interesting studies of changes of RNA in aging tissues which could be added to the list of studies covered by previous reviews.


Mech Ageing Human Diploid Fibroblast Short Poly Senescent Mouse General Error Theory 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. A. Medvedev
    • 1
  1. 1.Genetic DivisionNational Institute for Medical ResearchLondonGreat Britain

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