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Accurate protein production promotes longevity

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

A genetic tweak that improves the accuracy of protein synthesis can lengthen an organism’s lifespan, according to a paper published this week (September 14) in Cell Metabolism.

The results were consistent across three species—the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe—suggesting that building better proteins may be linked to longevity in other species, too.

Protein researcher John Labbadia of University College London says:

“The work is very convincing, very compelling, and I think it addresses a really important outstanding question in the field of aging: What are the best ways to look after our proteins and help ourselves to function better for longer?”

As an organism ages, the efficiency and accuracy of its cellular processes deteriorate. For example, protein production, folding, and degradation all decline in quality, such that loss of protein homeostasis (proteostasis), is “a major hallmark of aging” and age-related diseases, says molecular biologist Patricija van Oosten-Hawle of the University of Leeds who did not participate in the research.

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