Jun 20, 2017 10:23 AM EDT
The human cell can only divide itself for a limited number of times and then it dies. However, an MIT research discovered that yeast cells hold the key to double the life span of cells and reverse aging.
Prior to the research, scientists had no idea how the resetting happens. However, they found one clue when studying yeast cells. There is one gene responsible for controlling this process and doubles the lifespan of yeast cells.
Angelika Amon, the senior author of the study and a professor of biology at MIT, said that if they are able to identify a similar gene in the human cell, they will be able to reverse aging or create different methods that can rejuvenate aging cells.
According to Amon, although everybody knows that aging is a natural process in life, no one really knows what it is. No one knows what makes the cell sick or causes their demise.
By studying yeasts, they found out that their cells undergo a special type of cell division called meiosis. During this process, yeast cells produce spores. They also found out that any signs of cellular aging are eliminated at the end of meiosis.
What causes this rejuvenation?
The scientists discovered that a gene called NDT80 is activated at the end of meiosis, the exact time rejuvenation occurs. To prove if their discovery was right, they activated the gene in aging cells and true enough, their life span doubled.
Amon and her team also observed that nucleolar changes are the main force why aging occurs. That's because the only nucleolar damage was the only age-related disease that was gone when they activated NDT80 to aging cells.
The NDT80 gene also happens to activate other genes and this is what the researchers into - identifying the other genes targeted by the NDT80 gene.
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