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 How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Individualized fiber components for the world market

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How brains surrender to sleep

23.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>