Navigation Links
UNC researchers link aging to cellular interactions that occur across generations
Date:4/25/2014

April 24, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. The evidence for what causes aging has typically been limited to the study of a single organism's lifespan; our cells divide many times throughout our lives and eventually cause organs and our bodies to age and break down. But new research from the UNC School of Medicine suggests that how we age might depend on cellular interactions that we inherit from ancestors throughout many generations.

By studying the reproductive cells of nematodes tiny worms found in soil and compost bins Shawn Ahmed, PhD, an associate professor of genetics, identified the Piwi/piRNA genome silencing pathway, the loss of which results in infertility after many generations. He also found a signaling pathway a series of molecular interactions inside cells that he could tweak to overcome infertility while also causing the worms to live longer adult lives.

The research, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge and described in a paper published in the journal Cell Reports, suggests that it's possible to manipulate the aging process of progeny before they're even born.

The finding gives scientists a deeper understanding of what may govern aging and age-related diseases, such as some cancers and neurodegenerative conditions.

Typically, nematodes produce about 30 generations in a matter of months and remain fertile indefinitely. Ahmed and colleagues found that a mutation in the Piwi/piRNA cellular pathway of germ cells gradually decreased the worms' ability to reproduce as the mutation was passed down through the generations and eventually caused complete sterility. But when Ahmed's team manipulated a different protein DAF-16/FOXO the nematodes overcame the loss of the Piwi pathway. The worms did not become sterile; generations of worms reproduced indefinitely, achieving a sort of generational immortality. Moreover, it has been well established that DAF-16/FOXO plays a role in nematodes living longer.

Achieving longer life suggests that there's an effect on the aging of somatic cells the cells that make up the body and organs of an organism.

"That's the really interesting thing about this," said Ahmed, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. "What we've found implies that there's some sort of relationship between somatic cell aging and this germ line immortality process we've been studying."

What that relationship is, precisely, remains unknown. But so does the exact mechanism by which human somatic cells age as they divide throughout our lives. That is, exactly how we age at the cellular level is still not entirely understood.

"The field is fairly open in terms of what might cause aging of somatic cells," Ahmed said. "What makes our study unique is that we've found something that could be transmitted over many generations that could affect aging but is not necessarily a genetic mutation. Instead, whatever is being transmitted likely affects how a segment of the genome is silenced, and that genome segment can be modulated by a genetic mutation."

Think of it like this: when you were born, there could have been something in the reproductive cells of your parents that triggered how the somatic cells of your liver or kidneys would age after you were born.

"This inheritable factor could be dictating the rate at which some of your organs are aging," Ahmed said, "and this may have been set during embryogenesis."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Derewicz
mark.derewicz@unch.unc.edu
919-923-0959
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify a mechanism linking bariatric surgery to health benefits
2. Dana-Farber researchers uncover link between Down syndrome and leukemia
3. Stanford researchers rethink natural habitat for wildlife
4. Researchers question published no-till soil organic carbon sequestration rates
5. Researchers: Obesity can amplify bone and muscle loss
6. Researchers track down cause of eye mobility disorder
7. Vanderbilt researchers discover how intestinal cells build nutrient-absorbing surface
8. New method isolates immune cells for researchers to study how they ward off oral diseases
9. Researchers describe 4 new species of killer sponges from the deep sea
10. Finding the switch: Researchers create roadmap for gene expression
11. UAlberta researchers examine metabolism in defective cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, ... ... the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com ... http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/20/2017)... AR (PRWEB) , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... Rogers is joining the company’s board of directors. This addition continues to strengthen ... board," said Calvin Goforth, CEO and Chairman. “He is a highly accomplished business executive ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Nanomedical ... biotherapeutics development, announces the launch of a new NTA biosensor chip for use ... to study the kinetics of polyhistidine-tagged (His-tagged) molecules quickly and reliably. , ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... Allotrope Foundation won the 2017 in ... the Allotrope Framework for commercial use. , The Bio-IT World Best Practices Awards ... the critical role of information technology in modern biomedical research, but also to ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... ... instruments announced the launch of its new line of Heavy-Duty Orbital Shakers today. ... (both analog and digital) for laboratory applications. These shakers are ideal for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: