New research that looks at aging in baker’s yeast suggests that proper packaging of DNA can halt aging and lead to a longer life.
Jessica Tyler molecular biologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and her colleagues think they have uncovered yet another way cells age – by losing histones – The important proteins that form a spool upon which DNA is wound. Tight winding keeps genes off, while loosening the packaging allows genes to be turned on.
Just like a bread box or tightly sealed plastic bag can help keep a loaf of bread stay fresh longer, Jessica Tyler’s research looked at aging in baker’s yeast and the study suggests that proper packaging of DNA is a key to cellular longevity. The research details a noticeable decline in levels of DNA-packaging proteins – histones – which is partially responsible for aging, and that making more of these proteins can extend the lifespan of yeast.
“The finding serves as a reminder that biological processes are complicated and intertwined”, says Matt Kaeberlein, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. “When we think about these genetic pathways, we like to draw them in nice straight lines, but in reality they are all interconnected networks,” he says. “We need to have more studies exploring the relationship between histones and dietary-restriction effects on aging.”
“The next burning question is, ‘Are any of these mechanisms at play in the mammalian system?’” Kaeberlein says. Some evidence suggests that mice also lose histones as they age.
Read original article about cellular longevity.