Inhibition of the aging pathway Akt-mTOR signaling protects from obesity and extends health span in animals. Last year the Zwerschke group at IBA identified the small GTPase, GTP-binding RAS-like 3 (DIRAS3), as a weight-loss target gene in adipose stromal/progenitor cells (ASCs) derived from white adipose tissue of formerly obese people. They showed that DIRAS3 inhibits Akt-mTOR signaling and adipogenic differentiaton (Ejaz et al., 2016, EBioMedicine). In a current study the group demonstrated that DIRAS3 contributes to the regulation of ASC aging (Ejaz et al., 2017, Aging). Interestingly, they showed that silencing of DIRAS3 in ASCs stimulates adipogenic differentiation and premature senescence. These data suggest that DIRAS3 regulates both adipogenesis and premature senescence in human ASCs. Moreover, differentiating ASCs and/or mature adipocytes may acquire features of cellular senescence.


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