studied RNA splicing to understand its influence on aging.
splicing found to be a biomarker for aging.
- Premature aging
could be detected using RNA splicing. Splicing Factor 1 found to play a key
role in RNA splicing
is a strong risk factor for diseases, however,
the mechanism that promotes aging is not well understood. Researchers from The
Harvard Chan Institute of Public Health have found that the longevity of
roundworms was associated with RNA splicing. This study raises hope that
altering splicing factors would aid in healthy aging.
Senior author of the
study, Dr. William Mair, an assistant professor of genetics and complex
diseases at Harvard Chan School said,
"What kills neurons in Alzheimer's is certainly different from what causes
cardiovascular disease, but the shared underlying risk factor for these
illnesses is really age itself. So one of the big questions is: Is there a
unifying theme that unfolds molecularly within various organ systems and allows
these diseases to take hold?"
‘Eating Healthy could lead to ‘youthful aging’’
in Life Expectancy
People are living for
more number of years as advancements in medical technology have served to
increase life expectancy.
However, increase in the number of
years has not necessarily translated to quality of life. Many old people suffer
from some form of cancer or neurodegenerative disease or even heart disease.
Bodies will function
'youthfully' when the central dogma, DNA to RNA to protein synthesis is
maintained without any disruptions. There is very little that is known about
the influence of RNA splicing on aging.
Dr. Mair continues,
"Although we know that specific splicing defects can lead to disease, we
were really intrigued about de-regulation of RNA splicing as a driver of the
aging process itself, because practically nothing is known about that. Put
simply, splicing is a way for organisms to generate complexity from a
relatively limited number of genes."
The researchers studied
RNA splicing and aging on the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. The round worm
was chosen for experimental studies because
live only for three weeks, therefore it gives the researchers an ability to
study aging over a short period of time.
- It shows
distinctive signs of aging.
- Their skin
wrinkles over age and there is a reduction in fertility as well as immune
- The skin of
Caenorhabditis elegans is transparent so the researchers could use fluorescent
genetic tools to visualize splicing.
researchers found that the RNA splicing was distinct when it was youthful and
could easily detect premature aging. This lead the researchers to believe that
RNA splicing could be an effective tool in the detection of aging.
researchers enforced dietary restrictions, youthful splicing was noticed
throughout the lifespan, stressing the importance of diet in RNA splicing and,
subsequently, on old age.
Splicing factor 1 (SFA-1)
factor 1 is found in both humans as well as in roundworms and is associated
with many aging experiments. If this factor is present in abundance, then it
will independently increase lifespan.
RNA splicing in Aging
studies have shown that RNA splicing could play a key role in neurodegenerative
that is noticed in cognitively healthy
aged individuals has been found in 95% of individuals with frontotemporal lobar
degeneration and in Alzheimer's, irrespective of the age.
RNA splicing has never been fully detailed with aging in
mind. DNA as well as protein formed have all been studied with respect to
aging, however, such studies show that there are other mechanisms which could
play a key role in aging. This study has shown that RNA splicing might not only
increase lifespan but it could also lead to healthier aging.
- Analysis of alternative splicing associated with
aging and neurodegeneration in the human brain - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202275/)