A group of researchers representing the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a new protein that affect the aging process of living organisms. Manipulation of this protein in experiments has already significantly extend the life of fruit flies. Experts do not exclude that their findings could be useful for people.
Experts drew attention to the fact that fruit flies declines with age content in the body of the protein Drp1, and the shape of mitochondria changed — they become larger and more elongated. The study showed that these two processes are apparently somehow linked — in any case, when the rate Drp1 contributed to the reduction in the number of altered mitochondria and increase the number of those which have proper shape and, consequently, operate as efficiently as possible.
The result flies that started to get “extra helpings” Drp1 30 days after birth, lived on average much longer than ordinary fruit flies. Life expectancy of males increased by 12 percent and females 20 percent. According to scientists, the body of fruit flies slower processes took place, are typical of ageing. Experts also noticed, that the destruction of damaged mitochondria results in activation of Atg1 gene.
Scientists involved in the study of ageing, quite often use fruit flies for a number of reasons but primarily because the cellular level, this process proceeds about the same as in humans. In addition, it is important that to date, experts have studied all the genes of fruit flies and learned to “enable” and “disable” them in those combinations that require a particular experiment.