Re: [GRG] naked mole rats’ mechanism for building proteins/longevity

Contact: Peter Iglinski
University of Rochester

Better protein creation may be secret of longevity for the world’s
longest-living rodent

Naked mole rats have a unique mechanism for building proteins

IMAGE: Naked mole rats are small, hairless, subterranean rodents
native to eastern Africa.

Click here for more information.

Naked mole rats have what any animal would want. They live long
lives—about 30 years—and stay healthy until the very end. Now
biologists at the University of Rochester have new insights into
the animal’s longevity—better-constructed proteins.

Proteins are involved in nearly all functions of an animal cell,
and consequently, are essential to all organisms. But before
proteins can do their job, they must fold into the appropriate
shapes that allow them to connect to and interact with other
structures in the cell. In a paper published this week in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vera Gorbunova and
Andrei Seluanov describe their discovery of the process in naked
mole rats that leads to virtually perfect proteins.

“While this is basic research,” said Gorbunova, “we hope our
findings encourage further studies on better protein synthesis.”

Their work focused on naked mole rat ribosomes—the site of protein
creation in the animal’s cells—and began by happenstance. Gorbunova
and Seluanov were working with ribosome RNA (rRNA) when they made a
discovery. After applying a dye to a sample, they studied it under
ultraviolet light only to find three dark bands—representing
concentrations of different rRNA molecules—not the two bands that
are characteristic of all other animals, suggesting that there is a
“hidden break” in the naked mole rat rRNA. Since rRNA is an
essential part of the protein-creation mechanism, the two
biologists decided to see if the broken rRNA affects the quality of
naked mole rat proteins.

Ribosome RNA strands act as scaffolds on the ribosome, a protein
synthesis machine. Changing the shape of the scaffold can have a
profound effect on the organization of the ribosome parts.

Gorbunova and Seluanov discovered that the naked mole rat’s rRNA
scaffold is indeed unique. The rRNA strands split at two specific
locations and discard the intervening segment. Instead of floating
off on their own, the two remaining pieces from each strand stay
close to each other and act as a scaffold on which ribosomal
proteins are assembled to create a functional ribosome—a molecular
machine that puts amino acids together to create proteins. And the
results are impressive.

When the ribosome connects amino acids together to create a protein
a mistake is occasionally introduced when an incorrect amino acid
is inserted. Gorbunova and Seluanov found that the proteins made by
naked mole rat cells are up to 40 times less likely to contain such
mistakes than the proteins made by mouse cells.

“This is important because proteins with no aberrations help the
body to function more efficiently,” said Seluanov.

The next step for the biologists is to split mouse rRNA in the same
way to see if it would lead to improved protein creation.

The two biologists hope their work will eventually result in
pharmaceutical treatments that modulate protein synthesis in
humans, though any medical solution is a long way off.


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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