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The secret of longevity is 'autophagy of cellular proteins'

2022-02-16 23:41

- Identification of lifespan extension by the anti-aging protein MON2.
- Induction of longevity by strengthening autophagy of MON2 in Pretty C. elegans.

The process by which a specific protein in the cells of the human body induces longevity through autophagy has been identified. We are one step closer to the 'mystery of the human body' that is hidden under the veil of which organ's role for longevity, the wish of all human beings, is realized.

The National Research Foundation of Korea announced on the 3rd that "a joint research team led by Professor Seungjae Lee of KAIST, Dr. Cheoljoo Lee of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, and Professor Seungyeol Park of Pohang University of Science and Technology has identified the process by which 'MON2 protein' located in the Golgi body induces longevity through autophagy." Autophagy is a recycling process that frequently removes or appropriately transforms proteins that have been created in cells so that no load is placed on them, and is essential for maintaining life.

Golgi body: One of the organelles. A site for modification of proteins or lipids or for sorting for transport to other organs.

The core of the research result is that the correct function of organelles is required to induce longevity and that organic communication between different organelles is important.

The thesis, which is the result of research supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation, was published on the 3rd of December in the international scientific journal Science Advances.

Based on the previous research results that longevity is induced when the function of mitochondria, the energy factory in the cell, is slightly slowed down, the research team focused on the relationship between aging and the Golgi apparatus and mitochondria, the intracellular organelles that transport substances and proteins, and conduct research did.
Mitochondria: One of the organelles. Produces energy through cellular respiration.

In this process, using proteomic technology, they discovered proteins (about 1,000 species including Golgi protein MON2) that are specifically produced or less produced in mutant C. elegans, which has a longer lifespan due to reduced mitochondrial respiration, unlike normal nematodes. The reason why C. elegans was used as a research material was explained that although its size is smaller than a fingernail, it shares 83% of its genes with humans.
Proteomics: It is a field of study that studies whole proteins in cells or objects, unlike the traditional protein research method that studies one protein. It was first named by Marc Wilkins (1967-) in 1995.

The protein MON2 present in the Golgi apparatus, which acts like an intracellular post office, that transforms or sorts proteins generated in cells according to the purpose and delivers them to the required location has been known as a key factor that mainly regulates material transport. .

As a result of observing lifespan changes in these mutant models, the research team found that the Golgi protein MON2 is required for mitochondrial mutation as well as the longevity of C. elegans with limited diet.

Regarding the results of this study, Professor Lee said, "It is significant in suggesting that organic communication of three organelles, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, and autophagosome, is related to longevity. "A molecular level mechanism study is needed to determine whether it induces improvement."
Autophagoism: In other words, cells at the end of their lifespan are separated and isolated in a special area composed of a double cell membrane while recycling within the body cell occurs. The organ formed for this purpose is an autophagosome.

The discovery of a protein that induces longevity is expected to be used as basic data for future research to find substances that can activate this protein MON2. If the discovery of longevity-inducing substances in body cells and the mechanism that activates them is discovered, it will not be a distant future to unravel the secrets of anti-aging and longevity.
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