There is large variation in lifespan among different species, and there is evidence that modulation of proteasome function may contribute to longevity determination. Comparative biology provides a powerful tool for identifying genes and pathways that control the rate of aging. Here, we evaluated skin-derived fibroblasts and demonstrate that among primate species, longevity correlated with an elevation in proteasomal activity as well as immunoproteasome expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Immunoproteasome enhancement occurred with a concurrent increase in other elements involved in MHC class I antigen presentation, including β-2 microglobulin, (TAP1), and TAP2. Fibroblasts from long-lived primates also appeared more responsive to IFN-γ than cells from short-lived primate species, and this increase in IFN-γ responsiveness correlated with elevated expression of the IFN-γ receptor protein IFNGR2. Elevation of immunoproteasome and proteasome activity was also observed in the livers of long-lived Snell dwarf mice and in mice exposed to drugs that have been shown to extend lifespan, including rapamycin, 17-α-estradiol, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid. This work suggests that augmented immunoproteasome function may contribute to lifespan differences in mice and among primate species.
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