The effects of graded levels of calorie restriction: XIX. Impact of graded calorie restriction on protein expression in the liver

Lu Wang, Davina Derous, Xiahe Huang, Sharon E Mitchell, Alex Douglas, David Lusseau, Yingchun Wang* (Corresponding Author), John R Speakman* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan by modulating the mechanisms involved in aging. We quantified the hepatic proteome of male C57BL/6 mice exposed to graded levels of CR (0% to 40% CR) for three months, and evaluated which signaling pathways were most affected. The metabolic pathways most significantly stimulated by the increase in CR, included the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway, the pentose phosphate pathway, the fatty acid degradation pathway, the valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation pathway and the lysine degradation pathway. The metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450 pathway was activated and feminized by increased CR, while production in major urinary proteins (Mups) was strongly reduced, consistent with a reduced investment in reproduction as predicted by the disposable soma hypothesis. However, we found no evidence of increased somatic protection, and none of the four main pathways implied to be linked to the impact of CR on lifespan (insulin/IGF-1, NF-kB, mTOR and sirtuins) as well as pathways in cancer, were significantly changed at the protein level in relation to the increase in CR level. This was despite previous work at the transcriptome level in the same individuals indicating such changes. On the other hand, we find Aldh2, Aldh3a2 and Aldh9a1 in carnitine biosynthesis and Acsl5 in carnitine shuttle system were up-regulated by increased CR, which are consistent with our previous work on metabolome of the same individuals. Overall the patterns of protein expression were more consistent with a 'clean cupboards' than a 'disposable soma' interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1134
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date24 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Open Access under the OUP Agreement
The work was supported by grants from the National Key Research and Development program of China 2018YFA0801000, UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council BBSRC (BB/G009953/1 and BB/J020028/1) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC Aging program grant: 91649108). D.L. was supported by Office of Naval Research (ONR) (N000141512377) and J.R.S. was supported by a Wolfson research merit award from the Royal Society and a President’s International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI) professorial fellowship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


  • hepatic proteome
  • metabolic pathways
  • major urinary proteins
  • carnitine
  • clean cupboard hypothesis


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