Tag Archives: DNA damage

The mTOR Story Part 1 – What Makes This Important Pro-Aging Molecule Active?

I have mentioned mTOR as one of the main aging genes on multiple occasions. It’s about time I tell you what it is, what it does and why it is so important in aging.

mTOR has a little m in front of TOR, which means I am speaking about mammals. It technically means «mechanistic» TOR, but think of it as the molecule that mice and all of us have, whereas in worms is it just TOR.

mTOR gene produces one mTOR protein that can act in two pretty different ways. mTOR does so, because it forms two complexes with other molecules. These complexes are called mTORC1 and mTORC2. Yeah, I know, it’s a lot of letters, but C1 and C2 stand for «complex 1» and «complex 2», so it kinda makes sense.

1442Figure1_mTORCs

So, how are these complexes different? For starters, they have different proteins that are part of the complexes, and these differences define the drastic variance in functions.

mTOR is one of the most studies genes that the scientists have known about for decades, however we still don’t know much about how those complexes react to different signals in the cells, especially mTORC2. We know much more about what the first complex does, but not really a lot about the second complex. This is not good, because both of them play a huge, enormous role in aging and in age-related disease like cancer and metabolic disorders like diabetes.

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Filed under Biology of Aging

“Magical” regeneration in MRL mice

I just couldn’t walk past this article in PNAS about the miracles that happen to one strain of lab mice – MRL. These guys can fully close ear holes made for labeling purposes in order to mark a mouse for its whole life;  in these animals the holes turn out to be just temporary. The wounds close without scarring, and brand new cartilage, derma, epidermis and hair are formed. And the rest rest of the mice could wear earrings, if only there were any animal jewellery!

Another striking thing is that this feature was noticed 9 years ago, when the same group of researches published a paper telling how MRL mice can heal wounds on their hearts, leaving hardly any scars. As early as in 2001, it was shown that these mice can heal themselves from myocardial infarction after-effects in 60 days. But for some reason the molecular mechanisms underlying these miracles haven’t been studied until now. So, here they are.

MRL mice, mouse, regeneration, regenerative capacity, ear hole closure, scar, p21, DNA damage, p53, G2/M, molecular mechanisms of regeneration, wound healing, healing, regenerative, cell cycle

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Filed under Article, Mechanisms of aging, Regenerative medicine