Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nucleolus is a life expectancy predictor


31.08.2017

Scientists discover that nucleolar size correlates with health and lifespan in organisms as diverse as roundworms, flies and humans

Can a cell show its biological age? And is it possible to foresee an animal’s lifespan? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne discovered a connection between the size of the nucleolus - a tiny structure in the very center of the cell - and life expectancy. This could be used as a molecular marker for health and ageing.


Long-lived fruit flies (right) have smaller nucleoli than their shorter-lived relatives (left).

Source: Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns

Ageing researchers have long been searching for so-called biomarkers of ageing, which allow predictions about health and lifespan of organisms. Varnesh Tiku, a scientist in the department of Director Adam Antebi at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, recently made a breakthrough discovery by studying long-lived mutants of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

All of the mutants showed smaller nucleoli than their shorter-lived relatives, independent of the pathway that led to their longevity. The nucleolus is a tiny structure within the cell nucleus where special RNA molecules and proteins are assembled to form ribosomes, the protein factories of cells. The strong correlation between nucleolar size and lifespan enables the Max Planck scientists to predict whether the worm will be short-lived or long-lived.

Human muscle biopsies

“We also observed reduced nucleolar size in long-lived animals from other model organisms, such as fruit flies and mice”, explains Antebi. “This correlation may even hold true in humans. When we analyzed muscle biopsies from individuals older than sixty years that underwent modest dietary restriction coupled with exercise – a common way to prolong lifespan and increase health – we found that they had smaller nucleoli in their muscle cells after the intervention than before.”

“Chicken or egg”?

But is the reduced nucleolar size actually responsible for the increased life expectancy or is it just a read-out without being causal? “We think that the size of the nucleolus is not only a biomarker for longevity, but that the molecules within the nucleolus could causally impact life expectancy”, explains Antebi. The scientists already got a glimpse that this hypothesis is correct:

They observed that long-lived mutants with small nucleoli also show reduced levels of a nucleolar protein called fibrillarin, which aids in the assembly of the protein factory. When fibrillarin was reduced, the roundworms lived longer. This suggests that levels of fibrillarin in the nucleolus regulate life span.

But do these results mean that in the future we could go to the doctor, measure our nucleoli and estimate our life expectancy? “Perhaps, but there is still a lot of work to be done – more importantly, we hope that our discovery will help us to monitor interventions associated with increased health and longevity”, says Antebi.

The research of Adam Antebi is supported by the Max Planck Foundation.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.age.mpg.de/public-relations/news/detail/nucleolus-is-a-life-expectan...
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms16083?WT.feed_name=subjects_genetics

Dr. Maren Berghoff | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns
Further information:
http://www.age.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>