A recent study revealed that newly found type of stress can trigger in cells a response that leads to a longer life. The study also opened up about the possibility of new ways to intervene in human ageing and promote longevity.
The research team at Baylor College of Medicine and the Houston Methodist Research Institute said, they found that moderate chromatin stress levels set off a stress response in yeast, the tiny laboratory worm C elegans, the fruit fly and mouse embryonic stem cells.
In yeast and C elegans, the researchers found that the response promotes longevity.
The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, suggest that chromatin stress response and the longevity it mediates may be conserved in other organisms.
“Chromatin stress refers to disruptions in the way DNA is packed within the nucleus of the cell,” said Weiwei Dang, an assistant professor at Baylor.
“One of the factors that influence chromatin structure is proteins called histones,” Dang said.
In the nucleus of cells, DNA wraps itself around histone proteins forming a ‘beads-on-a-string’ structure called chromatin.
Other proteins bind along chromatin and the structure folds further into more complicated configurations.
All the things that involved DNA would have had to deal with this situation structure, added Dang. For example, when a particular gene is expressed, certain enzymes interact with the chromatin structure to negotiate access to the gene and translate it into proteins. For example, when a particular gene is expressed, certain enzymes interact with the chromatin structure to negotiate access to the gene and translate it into proteins.
“Unexpectedly, we found that yeast with fewer copies of histone genes lived longer than the controls,” said Ruofan Yu, a research assistant in the Dang lab.