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Factor in naked mole rat's cells enhances protein integrity

Date:
August 29, 2014
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
A factor in naked mole rat cells could be one of the secrets to how the rodent defies aging, researchers say. Naked mole rats, which burrow through underground tunnels in their native East Africa, are nearly hairless rodents. They live as long as 32 years. Naked mole rats maintain cancer-free good health and reproductive potential well into their third decade of life.

The naked mole rat, a long-lived rodent, is being studied for the secrets its biology can reveal about healthy aging. Investigators at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio found a factor in the rodent's cells that protects and alters function of the proteasome, a garbage disposer for damaged and obsolete proteins.
Credit: UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

Scientists at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, have found another secret of longevity in the tissues of the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole rat.

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They reported that a factor in the cells of naked mole rats protects and alters the activity of the proteasome, a garbage disposer for damaged and obsolete proteins.

The factor also protects proteasome function in human, mouse and yeast cells when challenged with various proteasome poisons, studies showed. These proteasomes usually rapidly stop functioning, leading to the accumulation of damaged proteins that further impair cell function, contributing to the vicious cycle that leads to cell death.

"I think this factor is part of an overall process or mechanism by which naked mole rats maintain their protein quality," study first author Karl Rodriguez, Ph.D., said.

Generally, as an organism ages, not only are there more damaged proteins in need of disposal, but the proteasome itself becomes damaged and less efficient in clearing out the damaged proteins.

As a result, protein quality declines and this contributes to the functional declines seen during aging. Enhancement of protein quality, meanwhile, leads to longer life in yeast, worms, fruit flies and naked mole rats, Dr. Rodriguez said.

Dr. Rodriguez, a San Antonio native who completed both his master's and doctoral degrees at the Health Science Center, is a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute. For this study, the Buffenstein lab also collaborated with Pawel Osmulski, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular medicine; Susan Weintraub, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry; and Maria Gaczynska, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular medicine.

Naked mole rats, which burrow through underground tunnels in their native East Africa, are nearly hairless rodents. They live as long as 32 years. Naked mole rats maintain cancer-free good health and reproductive potential well into their third decade of life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karl A. Rodriguez, Pawel A. Osmulski, Anson Pierce, Susan T. Weintraub, Maria Gaczynska, Rochelle Buffenstein. A cytosolic protein factor from the naked mole-rat activates proteasomes of other species and protects these from inhibition. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.07.005

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Factor in naked mole rat's cells enhances protein integrity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140829175436.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2014, August 29). Factor in naked mole rat's cells enhances protein integrity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140829175436.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Factor in naked mole rat's cells enhances protein integrity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140829175436.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

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