A new puzzle piece to control the aging and age-related diseases

May 10, 2018, Stockholm University
Martin Ott. Credit: Magnus Bergström/Wallenbergstiftelserna

A basic discovery of how the cellular functions are connected to control aging is presented in the journal Cell Metabolism. The study shows that an increasingly deteriorating communication between the cells' organelles is an important cause of aging. The discovery is the result of a collaboration between five research groups at the University of Stockholm and Gothenburg.

"The whole project aims at finding new ways to address the problems of aging and, in the long term, to slow down or treat the onset of age-related diseases such as neurological diseases and dementia," explains Martin Ott, professor at Stockholm University.

In times when the general life expectancy increases, society confronts a growing challenge to provide an aging population with welfare and healthcare. It is therefore an urgent task to unravel the basic principles of biological aging, whose details are found at the cellular level.

Organelles are the cell's equivalent to the body's organs, each fulfilling a specific function. Previous research has shown that in aging , organelles stop functioning one after the other, but it is unclear what causes this. Because the organelles are coordinated to counteract damage to proteins that occur in cells, their interdependencies are of great importance for aging and health.

One such organelle is the mitochondrium, and it acts as the cell's power plant. The new study lead by Ott shows that it is production of mitochondrial proteins that controls the well-being of the whole cell via previously unknown communication links. When mitochondria are exposed to stress, a protection program is activated to keep all the functions of the cell in check, a mechanism that also operates when cells age. Importantly, the study shows that in aging cells, this communication between the organelles collapses, which causes vital to deteriorate or fail.

"It has been a very rewarding and inspiring collaboration, in which each research group has contributed with key expertise. What we now want to investigate is when, how and why communication between cellular ceases to function during aging," says Claes Andréasson, a lecturer at Stockholm University and a senior author of the study.

The discovery is based on studies of . Although yeast may seem to have few similarities with humans, the mechanisms that control aging at the cellular age are essentially the same. Therefore, it is highly likely that the aging mechanisms identified at the in this study are also active in .

Explore further: Mechanism of aging recovery for progeria patients revealed

More information: "Mitochondrial Translation Efficiency Controls Cytoplasmic Protein Homeostasis" Cell Metabolism (2018), DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.04.011

Related Stories

Mechanism of aging recovery for progeria patients revealed

April 4, 2017
DGIST's research team has identified a mechanism that can recover the aging of patients with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS). DGIST announced that the Chair Professor Park SangChul of New Biology (Head of Well-Aging ...

Cancer therapies may trigger aging phenotypes in survivors

December 19, 2017
(HealthDay)—Cancer therapies have direct effects on telomere length, epigenetic modifications, and microRNA, which can mimic phenotypes of aging, according to a review published online Dec. 18 in ESMO Open.

Scientists discover molecule that could revert celular ageing

January 9, 2018
Researchers at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) João Lobo Antunes have found that manipulating a single RNA molecule is enough to revert cellular aging.

Recommended for you

3-D bioPen: A hydrogel injection to regenerate cartilage

September 25, 2018
Highly specialized cartilage is characteristically avascular and non-neural in composition with low cell numbers in an aliphatic environment. Despite its apparent simplicity, bioengineering regenerative hyaline cartilage ...

Skin wounds in older mice are less likely to scar

September 25, 2018
Researchers have discovered a rare example in which the mammalian body functions better in old age. A team at the University of Pennsylvania found that, in skin wounds in mice, being older increased tissue regeneration and ...

Study finds that enzymes 'partner up' to accelerate cancer, aging diseases

September 25, 2018
A new study from molecular biologists at Indiana University has identified cellular processes that appear to supercharge both the growth and shrinkage of the chemical "caps" on chromosomes associated with aging, called telomeres.

Extracellular RNA in urine may provide useful biomarkers for muscular dystrophy

September 25, 2018
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have found that extracellular RNA (exRNA) in urine may be a source of biomarkers for the two most common forms of muscular dystrophy, noninvasively providing information about ...

Evidence that addictive behaviors have strong links with ancient retroviral infection

September 24, 2018
New research from an international team led by Oxford University's Department of Zoology and the National-Kapodistrian University of Athens, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), shows ...

Taking a catnap? Mouse mutation shown to increase need for sleep

September 24, 2018
Sleep is vital for adequate functioning across the animal kingdom, but little is known about the physiological mechanisms that regulate it, or the reasons for natural variation in people's sleep patterns.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.