Mutation of the mouse klotho gene leads to a syndrome resembling ageing.
A new gene, termed klotho, has been identified that is involved in the suppression of several ageing phenotypes. A defect in klotho gene expression in the mouse results in a syndrome that resembles human ageing, including a short lifespan, infertility, arteriosclerosis, skin atrophy, osteoporosis and emphysema. The gene encodes a membrane protein that shares sequence similarity with the beta-glucosidase enzymes. The klotho gene product may function as part of a signalling pathway that regulates ageing in vivo and morbidity in age-related diseases.