Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unstable Proteins Can Cause Premature Aging

Date:
August 10, 2009
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
The normal aging process has long been linked to problems with cell respiration, the process through which the cells extract energy from nutrients. Researchers have now shown how certain proteins that are synthesized in the cellular mitochondria -- popularly known as the cells' power plants -- become unstable and disintegrate, which in turn can impair cell respiration and cause premature aging.

The normal ageing process has long been linked to problems with cell respiration, the process through which the cells extract energy from nutrients. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now shown how certain proteins that are synthesised in the cellular mitochondria - popularly known as the cells' power plants - become unstable and disintegrate, which in turn can impair cell respiration and cause premature ageing.

Every time we inhale, the blood transports oxygen from our lungs to our cells' mitochondria, where it is used to convert the nutrients in our food into a form of energy that the body can use. Problems with this process, called cell respiration, have been linked to numerous conditions, from rare genetic diseases to diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease and the normal ageing process.

For cell respiration to function properly, it needs proteins synthesised outside and then imported into the mitochondria, and proteins synthesised within the mitochondria themselves from their own DNA (mtDNA). It has long been known that an accumulation of harmful mutations of mtDNA can cause premature ageing, but just how this happens has remained something of a mystery.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have now shown through studies on mice that changes in mtDNA can cause ageing by introducing errors into the proteins manufactured by the mitochondria. The amount of protein is normal, but the proteins are rendered unstable and quickly disintegrate, leading eventually to the breakdown of cell respiration.

"Our results show that premature ageing is caused by point mutations in the mtDNA, which cause the mitochondrial proteins to become unstable and disintegrate," says Aleksandra Trifunovic, one of the scientists involved in the study.

According to the team, the study, which is presented in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, provides a better understanding of the interaction between mitochondrial function and the ageing process, and improves the chances of one day finding an efficacious treatment for mitochondrial disorders, something that is currently lacking.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edgar D, Shabalina I, Camara Y, Wredenberg A, Calvaruso MA, Nijtmans L, Nedergaard J, Cannon B, Larsson NG, Trifunovic A. Random Point Mutations with Major Effects on Protein-Coding Genes Are the Driving Force behind Premature Aging in mtDNA Mutator Mice. Cell Metabolism, August 6, 2009

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Unstable Proteins Can Cause Premature Aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806080339.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2009, August 10). Unstable Proteins Can Cause Premature Aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806080339.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Unstable Proteins Can Cause Premature Aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806080339.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins