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Cell protein discovery points to healthier aging

Date:
July 18, 2023
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
Researchers have found an anti-aging function in a protein deep within human cells. Researchers have discovered that a protein called ATSF-1 controls a fine balance between the creation of new mitochondria and the repair of damaged mitochondria.
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Researchers at The University of Queensland have found an anti-ageing function in a protein deep within human cells.

Associate Professor Steven Zuryn and Dr Michael Dai at the Queensland Brain Institute have discovered that a protein called ATSF-1 controls a fine balance between the creation of new mitochondria and the repair of damaged mitochondria.

Mitochondria, with their own DNA, produce energy within cells to power biological functions but the toxic by-products of this process contribute to the rate at which the cell ages.

"In conditions of stress, when mitochondrial DNA has been damaged, the ATSF-1 protein prioritises repair which promotes cellular health and longevity," Dr Zuryn said.

As an analogy, Dr Zuryn likened the relationship to a race car needing a pitstop.

"ATSF-1 makes the call that a pitstop is needed for the cell when mitochondria need repairs," he said.

"We studied ATFS-1 in C. elegans, or round worms and saw that enhancing its function promoted cellular health, meaning the worms became more agile for longer.

"They didn't live longer, but they were healthier as they aged."

"Mitochondrial dysfunction lies at the core of many human diseases, including common age-related diseases such as dementias and Parkinson's.

"Our finding could have exciting implications for healthy ageing and for people with inherited mitochondrial diseases."

Understanding how cells promote repair is an important step towards identifying possible interventions to prevent mitochondrial damage.

"Our goal is to prolong the tissue and organ functions that typically decline during ageing by understanding how deteriorating mitochondria contribute to this process," Dr Dai said.

"We may ultimately design interventions that keep mitochondrial DNA healthier for longer, improving our quality of life," Dr Dai said.

This research was published in Nature Cell Biology.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Queensland. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chuan-Yang Dai, Chai Chee Ng, Grace Ching Ching Hung, Ina Kirmes, Laetitia A. Hughes, Yunguang Du, Christopher A. Brosnan, Arnaud Ahier, Anne Hahn, Cole M. Haynes, Oliver Rackham, Aleksandra Filipovska, Steven Zuryn. ATFS-1 counteracts mitochondrial DNA damage by promoting repair over transcription. Nature Cell Biology, 2023; DOI: 10.1038/s41556-023-01192-y

Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "Cell protein discovery points to healthier aging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2023. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/07/230718105722.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2023, July 18). Cell protein discovery points to healthier aging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/07/230718105722.htm
University of Queensland. "Cell protein discovery points to healthier aging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/07/230718105722.htm (accessed July 14, 2024).

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