- The hormone insulin plays a vital role in reducing blood sugar level, by binding to its receptor on the cell surface.
- During this process, many other vital processes are shut down and in the long-term, the insulin receptor reduces life-expectancy.
- The protein called CHIP helps in disposing the insulin receptor by supplying it to the cellular breakdown and recycling systems and thereby unfurling anti-aging activity.
A protein, called CHIP, has been identified to unfurl anti-aging activity by releasing the brakes on life expectancy.
The insulin receptor acts as a brake on life-expectancy. Early in evolution, sugar intake and the regulation of life span were linked with each other. The hormone insulin plays a crucial role in reducing blood sugar levels by binding to its receptor on the cell surface.
‘Understanding the role of protein CHIP, in the breaking down of insulin receptor (which promotes aging), is necessary to identify new treatments for anti-aging.’
During this process however, many processes for stress management and survival are shut down. And in the long-term, it reduces life-expectancy.
In the study by a team of researchers from the Universities of Cologne and Bonn, it has been shown that genetically altered laboratory animals in which the insulin receptor no longer functions actually live much longer than normal. They have identified the process by which the insulin receptor is normally kept in check in the cells and tissue.
Role of CHIP
A protein CHIP has been identified to play a crucial role in this process.
The role of CHIP is to act as a disposal helper. It supplies the insulin receptor to the cellular breakdown and recycling systems by affixing a "green dot" in the form of the molecule ubiquitin onto the receptor.
CHIP thus lifts the life expectancy brake and unfurls anti-aging activity.
"CHIP fulfils this function in nematodes, as well as in fruit flies and in humans. This makes the protein so interesting for us," explains Prof. Thorsten Hoppe, one of the two lead authors of the study from the Cluster of Excellence CECAD at the University of Cologne.
Premature Aging in the Absence of CHIP
Another important function of CHIP is to remove faulty and damaged proteins, which increasingly occur at an older age. The accumulation of these misfolded proteins can lead to various conditions like dementia and muscle weakness.
When the investigators, recreated such degenerative illnesses in the nematode and in human cells, they observed that there was insufficient availability of CHIP for the break down the insulin receptor, which resulted in premature aging.
A major drawback of excess CHIP is that it recycles undamaged proteins, thereby weakening the organism.
The researchers hope that understanding mechanisms that control the breakdown of insulin receptor by CHIP, could help in identifying new treatments.v
The findings are published in the Cell
- Thorsten Hoppe et al. The Ubiquitin Ligase CHIP Integrates Proteostasis and Aging by Regulation of Insulin Receptor Turnover. Cell; (2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.04.003