Cytosolic and mitochondrial tRNA synthetase inhibitors increase lifespan in a GCN4/atf-4-dependent manner.
Deletion of genes encoding ribosomal proteins extends lifespan in yeast. This increases translation of the functionally conserved transcription factor Gcn4, and lifespan extension in these mutants is GCN4-dependent. Gcn4 is also translationally upregulated by uncharged tRNAs, as are its C aenorhabditis elegans and mammalian functional orthologs. Here, we show that cytosolic tRNA synthetase inhibitors upregulate Gcn4 translation and extend yeast lifespan in a Gcn4-dependent manner. This cytosolic tRNA synthetase inhibitor is also able to extend the lifespan of C. elegans in an atf-4-dependent manner. We show that mitochondrial tRNA synthetase inhibitors greatly extend the lifespan of C. elegans, and this depends on atf-4. This suggests that perturbations of both cytosolic and mitochondrial translation may act in part via the same downstream pathway. These findings establish GCN4 orthologs as conserved longevity factors and, as long-lived mice exhibit elevated ATF4, leave open the possibility that tRNA synthetase inhibitors could also extend lifespan in mammals.