Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Protein that Extends Life of Yeast Cells

06.09.2017

To understand and control aging is the aspiration of many scientists. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have now discovered that the protein Gcn4 decreases protein synthesis and extends the life of yeast cells. Understanding how individual genes affect lifespan opens new ways to control the aging process and the occurrence of aging-related diseases. The results of this study have recently been published in “Nature Communications”.

For about one hundred years it has been known that nutrient restriction and moderate stress can significantly prolong life. The researchers led by Prof. Mihaela Zavolan and Prof. Anne Spang, both at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, have discovered how the transcription factor Gcn4, a protein that regulates the expression of many genes, extends the life of baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In various stress situations, the cells stimulate Gcn4 production which leads to reduced biosynthesis of new proteins and increased yeast lifespan.


Baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

(Image: University of Basel/SNI/Nano Imaging Lab)

Transcription factor represses protein synthesis

It has long been known that protein synthesis – also known as translation – plays an important role in aging. Inhibition of protein synthesis, caused for example by reduced nutrient intake, can have a positive effect on the life expectancy of diverse organisms such as yeast, flies, worms or fish. Reducing the ribosomes, the protein factories of the cell, can also considerably extend the lifespan of yeast cells.

What these cellular stresses have in common is that they activate the production of Gcn4. However, how this protein promotes longevity has remained unclear.

In their study, the team working with Zavolan exposed yeast cells to different stress conditions, measured their lifespan, protein synthesis rates and Gcn4 expression. “We observed that the level of the Gcn4 protein was positively correlated with the longevity of yeast cells,” says Mihaela Zavolan, Professor of Computational and Systems Biology.

“However, we wanted to understand why. We have now shown for the first time that it is the transcriptional suppression of genes that are important for cellular protein synthesis by Gcn4 that seems to account for its lifespan extension effect. As the translation machinery is limiting, the energy-intensive production of new proteins is overall dampened.” From the yeast cell’s point of view, this is an advantage: This enables them to live about 40 percent longer than usual.

Transcription factor is highly conserved in many organisms

The transcription factor Gcn4 is conserved in over 50 different organisms, including mammals, and it likely play a significant role in the aging of these organisms as well.

Zavolan’s group will now investigate whether the mammalian homolog similarly slows aging and extends lifespan by regulating protein synthesis genes in response to nutrients and stress.

Original source

Nitish Mittal, Joao C. Guimaraes, Thomas Gross, Alexander Schmidt, Arnau Vina-Vilaseca, Danny D. Nedialkova, Florian Aeschimann, Sebastian A. Leidel, Anne Spang, Mihaela Zavolan
The Gcn4 transcription factor reduces protein synthesis capacity and extends yeast lifespan
Nature Communications (2017), doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00539-y

Further information

Prof. Dr. Mihaela Zavolan, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Tel. +41 61 207 15 77, email: mihaela.zavolan@unibas.ch

Dr. Katrin Bühler, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Communications, Tel. +41 61 207 09 74, email: katrin.buehler@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/A-Protein-that-Extends-Li...

Dr. Katrin Bühler | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>