About this Research Topic
It has been known for many years that the cellular pathway of autophagy, acting either as a nutrient generation system or as a quality control surveyor and executor, is functionally connected to ageing and longevity. For example, many genetic manipulations that extend life span have been shown to require a functional autophagic pathway. It has also been shown in a variety of experimental systems that the autophagic response deteriorates with age, and this may contribute to the ageing process.
What is perhaps less clear is whether autophagy can autonomously regulate ageing, and, more specifically, to what extent it can, on its own, enhance longevity. Equally unclear is whether autophagy during ageing targets specific cellular systems for quality control and degradation or whether it is activated basally to constantly provide a (general) homeostatic input.
At a more theoretical level, autophagy can be considered to fit into two alternative frameworks that explain the ageing process. These frameworks posit ageing either as a developmental programme that continues to operate past its evolutionary beneficial limit or as a result of continuous accumulation of damage (environmental, metabolic, wear and tear) which cannot be efficiently repaired once it reaches a critical point.
This Research Topic on “Autophagy and Ageing: ideas, methods, molecules” aims to bring together colleagues working on autophagy and ageing, as well as others working on ageing but who consider autophagy a potentially important pathway to be explored. We are especially interested in work involving model organisms, but also in emerging work with mammalian systems. We hope that the contributions in this volume will provide a useful state of the art summary, and will help to frame important question on ageing and autophagy for the next few years.
Keywords: autophagy, ageing, mitochondria, lifespan
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.