The Gene Regulatory Footprint of Aging Highlights Conserved Central Regulators
Many genes and pathways have been linked to aging, yet our understanding of underlying molecular mechanisms is still lacking. Here, we measure changes in the transcriptome, histone modifications and DNA-methylome in three metabolic tissues of adult and aged mice. Transcriptome and methylome changes dominate the liver aging footprint, whereas heart and muscle globally increase chromatin accessibility especially in aging pathways. In mouse and human data from multiple tissues and regulatory layers, age-related transcription factor expression changes and binding site enrichment converge on putative aging modulators, including ZIC1, CXXC1, HMGA1, MECP2, SREBF1, SREBF2, ETS2, ZBTB7A, and ZNF518B. Using Mendelian randomization, we establish possible epidemiological links between expression of some of these transcription factors or their targets, including CXXC1, ZNF518B, and BBC3, and longevity. We conclude that conserved modulators are at the core of the molecular footprint of aging, and variation in tissue-specific expression of some may affect human longevity. This repository containes the R code used to reproduce the findings and figures in the Bou Sleiman et al., 2020 Cell Reports publication. Please contact the authors for specific questions.