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Spontaneous, Non-enzymatic, Post Translational Modifications, Racemization, Biological Clock, Natural Selection, Allostatic Load, Psychological Aging, Psychological Stress, Stress Response System, Phase Transitions, Racemization Theory of Aging

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In humans, age-associated degrading changes, widely observed in molecular and cellular processes underly the time-dependent decline in spatial navigation, time perception, cognitive and psychological abilities, and memory. Cross-talk of biological, cognitive, and psychological clocks provides an integrative contribution to healthy and advanced aging. At the molecular level, genome, proteome, and lipidome instability are widely recognized as the primary causal factors in aging. We narrow attention to the roles of protein aging linked to prevalent amino acids chirality, enzymatic and spontaneous (non-enzymatic) post-translational modifications (PTMs SP), and non-equilibrium phase transitions. The homochirality of protein synthesis, resulting in the steady-state non-equilibrium condition of protein structure, makes them prone to multiple types of enzymatic and spontaneous PTMs, including racemization and isomerization. Spontaneous racemization leads to the loss of the balanced prevalent chirality. Advanced biological aging related to irreversible PTMs SP has been associated with the nontrivial interplay between somatic (molecular aging) and mental (psychological aging) health conditions. Through stress response systems (SRS), the environmental and psychological stressors contribute to the age-associated “collapse” of protein homochirality. The role of prevalent protein chirality and entropy of protein folding in biological aging is mainly overlooked. In a more generalized context, the time-dependent shift from enzymatic to the non-enzymatic transformation of biochirality might represent an important and yet underappreciated hallmark of aging. We provide the experimental arguments in support of the racemization theory of aging.

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences, v. 23, issue 1, art. 285