AUTOPHAGY AND IMMUNE SENESCENCE
Ageing is an extremely complex process involving degeneration of multiple systems. It is inevitable (unless accidental death at young age) and is a major risk factor for age-related diseases. Several molecular pathways (e.g. mTOR, AMPK, IIS/FOXO) have been described to regulate ageing at both the cellular level and the organismal level, and autophagy is a key downstream effector mediating their effects. Using immune system (immune senescence) as the model, my project studies:
a) The change of autophagy with age across the haematopoietic system;
b) If the autophagy inducer spermidine can rejuvenate adaptive immune responses in old mice;
c) Since spermidine is an endogenous cellular polyamine metabolite, a conserved pathway regulating autophagy and ageing may exist behind this small molecule.
Zhang H. et al, (2016), Trends Mol Med, 22, 671 - 686
Puleston DJ. et al, (2014), Elife, 3