Genome complexity: multiple proteins control aging (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 01, 2019, 20:30 (10 days ago) @ David Turell

It is a highly complex series of different specialized proteins and gene controls. All animals age and have rates of end of life:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/longevity-linked-to-proteins-that-calm-overexcited-neuro...

"...recently in Nature, Bruce Yankner, a professor of genetics and neurology at Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues reported on a previously overlooked controller of life span: the activity level of neurons in the brain. In a series of experiments on roundworms, mice and human brain tissue, they found that a protein called REST, which controls the expression of many genes related to neural firing, also controls life span. They also showed that boosting the levels of the equivalent of REST in worms lengthens their lives by making their neurons fire more quietly and with more control. How exactly overexcitation of neurons might shorten life span remains to be seen, but the effect is real and its discovery suggests new avenues for understanding the aging process.

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"A key early finding was that the inactivation of a gene called daf-2 was fundamental to extending the life span of the worms. “daf-2 mutants were the most amazing things I had ever seen. They were active and healthy and they lived more than twice as long as normal,”

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"This gene and a second one called daf-16 are both involved in producing these effects in worms. And as scientists came to understand the genes’ activities, it became increasingly clear that aging is not separate from the processes that control an organism’s development before the age of sexual maturity; it makes use of the same biochemical machinery. These genes are important in early life, helping the worms to resist stressful conditions during their youth. As the worms age, modulation of daf-2 and daf-16 then influences their health and longevity.

"This gene and a second one called daf-16 are both involved in producing these effects in worms. And as scientists came to understand the genes’ activities, it became increasingly clear that aging is not separate from the processes that control an organism’s development before the age of sexual maturity; it makes use of the same biochemical machinery. These genes are important in early life, helping the worms to resist stressful conditions during their youth. As the worms age, modulation of daf-2 and daf-16 then influences their health and longevity.

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"...REST, which turns genes off, was mainly known for its role in the development of the fetal brain: It represses neuronal genes until the young brain is ready for them to be expressed.
But that’s not the only time it’s active. “We discovered in 2014 that [the REST gene] is actually reactivated in the aging brain,” Yankner said.

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"Because REST was plentiful in the brains of long-lived people, the researchers wondered if lab animals without REST would have more neural firing and shorter lives. Sure enough, they found that the brains of elderly mice in which the Rest gene had been knocked out were a mess of overexcited neurons, with a tendency toward bursts of activity resembling seizures. Worms with boosted levels of their version of REST (proteins named SPR-3 and SPR-4) had more controlled neural activity and lived longer. But daf-2 mutant worms deprived of REST were stripped of their longevity.

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"What’s more, Yankner and his colleagues found that in worms the life extension effect depended on a very familiar bit of DNA: daf-16. This meant that REST’s trail had led the researchers back to that highly important aging pathway, as well as the insulin/IGF-1 system. “That really puts the REST transcription factor somehow squarely into this insulin signaling cascade,” said Thomas Flatt, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Fribourg who studies aging and the immune system. REST appears to be yet another way of feeding the basic molecular activities of the body into the metabolic pathway."

Comment: Obviously all organisms must die, or the Earth becomes overpopulated. Besides the carcasses are good food for survivalThis design to accomplish the end of life illustrates how information is exchanged between cells and genes. The cells are programmed to produce those special proteins which then carry the instructions/information turning gens on and off. Only a designer can create this.


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