U. of Colorado researchers identify switch that controls aging in worms

from the The-worm-turns dept.
According to a press release (10 December 2001), two University of Colorado at Boulder researchers working with GenoPlex Inc. in Denver have identified a biological switch that controls lifespan in tiny worms, a finding that could have applications for mammals, including people.
The switch, known as DAF-16, is a protein that can either lengthen or shorten the lifespan in the eyelash-sized roundworm, C. elegans, said CU-Boulder psychology Professor Thomas Johnson. Johnson, who is a fellow in the universityís Institute for Behavioral Genetics, or IBG, said DAF-16 is a critical part of a complex signaling pathway that involves insulin and glucose. Henderson has identified a molecule that embodies a trade off, said Johnson. "If DAF-16 is ëon,í it triggers less reproduction, more efficient cell repair and longer lives. On the other hand, if DAF-16 is ëoff,í the result is more reproduction, worse cell repair and a shortened lifespan," he said.
There is a good possibility scientists could develop a pharmaceutical intervention that would trigger translocation of DAF-16 into the cell nucleus of a variety of animals, including humans, said Henderson. This would cause organisms to lower their reproduction level and fight off the negative impacts of free radicals.

Leave a comment

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop