Network strategies to understand the aging process and help age-related drug design

Simko, Gabor I.
Gyurko, David
Veres, Daniel V.
Nanasi, Tibor
Csermely, Peter
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Recent studies have demonstrated that network approaches are highly appropriate tools to understand the extreme complexity of the aging process. The generality of the network concept helps to define and study the aging of technological, social networks and ecosystems, which may give novel concepts to cure age-related diseases. The current review focuses on the role of protein-protein interaction networks (interactomes) in aging. Hubs and inter-modular elements of both interactomes and signaling networks are key regulators of the aging process. Aging induces an increase in the permeability of several cellular compartments, such as the cell nucleus, introducing gross changes in the representation of network structures. The large overlap between aging genes and genes of age-related major diseases makes drugs which aid healthy aging promising candidates for the prevention and treatment of age-related diseases, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. We also discuss a number of possible research options to further explore the potential of the network concept in this important field, and show that multi-target drugs (representing "magic-buckshots" instead of the traditional "magic bullets") may become an especially useful class of age-related future drugs.
Comment: an invited paper to Genome Medicine with 8 pages, 2 figures, 1 table and 46 references
Quantitative Biology - Molecular Networks, Physics - Biological Physics, Quantitative Biology - Genomics