Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cause of Ageing Remains Elusive

22.10.2014

A report by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature a few months ago was a small sensation: they appeared to have found the cause for why organisms age. An international team of scientists, headed by the University of Bonn, has now refuted a basic assumption of the Nature article. The reasons for ageing thus remain elusive.

The Chinese article caused a stir amongst experts worldwide. Using a simple measurement in young nematode worms, the researchers reported they had been able to predict how long they would live .


The photo shows a nematode worm with its mitochondria fluorescing in yellow due to sensor staining; a structural model of the probe is shown in the foreground.

© Dr. Markus Schwarzländer, Uni Bonn

The researchers had introduced a fluorescent probe called cpYFP into the cellular power stations, the mitochondria, of the worms. Mitochondria are present in most living organisms. They provide the energy for all processes of life.

Many biologists consider the mitochondria an important biological clock that drives ageing. As an underlying cause they suspect that the highly reactive molecules, so called free radicals, released during energy conversion by the power stations can react with cellular molecules causing damage. As a result cellular performance decreases until the cell dies.

This theory is not new – it was first proposed nearly 40 years ago. However, until today it has not been possible to show a conclusive link between mitochondrial activity, the formation of free radicals and ageing. En-Zhi Shen and his colleagues appeared to have found a critical link. They used cpYFP as a free radical detector. And indeed: the more frequently the probe lit up in young worms - i.e. the more free radicals they appeared to produce -, the shorter the worms lived.

An international team of scientists has now refuted a basic assumption of this study. Their work shows that cpYFP is not able to measure free radicals in the first place. Instead the signals of the probe are the result of changes in pH (that is the acidity) inside the mitochondria.

"From the published worm data we cannot conclude that the degree of free radical release determines lifespan." says Dr. Markus Schwarzländer, research group leader at the University of Bonn and first author of the publication. "cpYFP is not suitable to address this question." He adds that the relationship between the occurance of the probe signals and lifespan of the worms was exciting nevertheless. “Now we can focus on trying to understand its actual significance.“
The new study is soon to appear, also in the journal Nature. 28 experts from 9 countries were involved in this work. It was led by scientists from the University of Bonn, from the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg, as well as from the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England.

Publication: Markus Schwarzländer et al.: The ‘mitoflash’ probe cpYFP does not respond to superoxide; Nature Volume 514 Edition 7523; doi: 10.1038/nature13858

Contact details:
Dr. Markus Schwarzländer
Head of the Emmy-Noether Research Group „Plant Energy Biology“
Institute of Crop Science and Ressource Conservation, University of Bonn
Phone: +40-(0)228-73-54266
E-Mail: markus.schwarzlander@uni-bonn.de

Dr. Andreas Archut | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>