Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologists identify a new clue into cellular aging

08.07.2010
The ability to combat some age-related diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, may rest with scientists unlocking clues about the molecular and cellular processes governing aging.

The underlying theory is that if the healthy portion of an individual’s life span can be extended, it may delay the onset of certain age-related diseases. In the search to understand these molecular processes, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have uncovered an important new DAF-16 isoform – DAF-16d/f – that collaborates with other DAF-16 protein isoforms to regulate longevity.

Part of the insulin signaling pathway, DAF-16 plays a critical role in a number of biological processes in C. elegans, including longevity, lipid metabolism, stress response and development, and is the center of a complex network of genes and proteins. Previous studies have identified the isoform – a different form of the same protein – DAF-16a as a regulator of longevity; genetically knocking down the DAF-16a isoform shortens C. elegans’ life span. In a new study appearing in the July 7 advanced online edition of Nature, Heidi A. Tissenbaum, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicine, and colleagues in the Program in Gene Function and Expression at UMass Medical School, show that the newly discovered isoform DAF-16d/f works in concert with DAF-16a to promote organismal life span.

“Up until now, research has focused on the DAF-16a and DAF-16b isoforms,” said Dr. Tissenbaum. “What we’re able to show is that DAF-16a alone is insufficient for lifespan regulation. Moving forward, any discussion about the process of aging will have to include this new protein isoform.”

To see the effect of DAF-16d/f on life span, lead author Dr. Eun-soo Kwon, a post-doctoral fellow in the Tissenbaum laboratory, increased expression of the DAF-16d/f and DAF-16a in C. elegans. These studies showed that worms with the overexpressed DAF-16d/f lived longest. Additional experiments reveal that worms expressing DAF-16d/f were also more tolerant to heat stress during development and store more fat.

Because the DAF-16 gene in C. elegans is homologous to the FOXO gene in mammals, it may provide clues to longevity in humans. “Understanding the molecular pathways of DAF-16 and other genes will give us insight into aging at both the cellular and organism levels,” said Tissenbuam. “As we age, at a certain point, something happens that triggers age-related disease. If we can learn what these signals are, it’s possible we can find a way to extend the healthy portion of a person’s life span and potentially delay the onset of age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.”

The next line of inquiry will explore whether an increase in life span correlates to the health of the worm. “It’s possible that we’re restoring life span, but we don’t know the effect of doing so,” said Tissenbaum. “We have to explore whether this increased lifespan is of the healthy portion of the lifespan.”

Graduate student Sri Devi Narasimhan and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Kelvin Yen also contributed to this study.

About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $240 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The mission of the Medical School is to advance the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research, public service and health care delivery with its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu.
Contact: Jim Fessenden
Public Affairs and Publications
508-856-2000; ummsnews@umassmed.edu

Jim Fessenden | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umassmed.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>