Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biochemical clues to long lifespan revealed


Findings extend longevity research from yeast and worms to mammals

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have discovered how two key cellular influences on lifespan work together, providing insights that may help reveal aging mechanisms in humans. The findings extend longevity research from yeast and worms into mammals, and suggest that longer life results, at least in part, from biochemical interactions that boost cells’ ability to resist environmental stresses while inhibiting them from committing suicide. The study appears in the February 19th Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science.

Previous studies in yeast and worms pinpointed a gene known as Sir2 as a key regulator of lifespan: deleting Sir2 limits lifespan, and extra copies lengthen it. Sir2 has a counterpart in mammals, but until now, very little was known about how it worked or what it had to do with aging. Working with mouse cells, researchers led by Anne Brunet, a postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at Children’s Hospital who is now at Stanford University, discovered that Sir2 works by regulating a group of proteins known as FOXO transcription factors. FOXO proteins have also been linked with longevity; they control the expression of genes that regulate cell suicide, and also enable the cell to resist oxidative stress, or chemical stresses that can disrupt the cell’s DNA, or genetic blueprint.

"Aging involves damage to cells," says Dr. Michael E. Greenberg, director of Children’s Program in Neurobiology and senior investigator on the study. "If you reduce oxidative stress, you get less aging."

The Children’s team found that in the presence of oxidative stress, Sir2 promoted the ability of at least one FOXO protein, FOXO3, to provide stress resistance while suppressing its ability to induce cell death. In mammals, FOXO proteins confer stress resistance by triggering reactions that detoxify the damaging chemicals, known as free radicals. This leads to the repair of DNA damage while putting cell replication on hold, giving cells more time to perform the detoxification and repair process.

Greenberg, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry and is also a professor of neurology and neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, believes that bolstering a cell’s resistance to oxidative stress may help keep age-related disorders in check. He notes that the interaction between Sir2 and FOXO reduced the death of nerve cells, suggesting a possible strategy for reversing age-related nerve-cell degeneration, such as occurs in Alzheimer’s disease. The Sir2-FOXO interaction may also inhibit tumor formation, since DNA damage in cells can make them cancerous.

"If you have molecules that come together to mediate resistance to environmental stresses that cause aging, one might be able to come up with drugs that would affect this interaction and slow the aging process," Greenberg says.

The research was supported by the Ellison Medical Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the F.M. Kirby Foundation.

Children’s Hospital Boston is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults for more than 130 years. More than 500 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, nine members of the Institute of Medicine and nine members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children’s research community. Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Susan Craig | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>