Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biochemical clues to long lifespan revealed

20.02.2004


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:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>