[ExI] Maybe we can increase lifespan by altering our RNA?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Jul 27 06:29:25 UTC 2015

Researchers at the Center for Plant Aging Research with support from
the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in Korea have made a
breakthrough in decoding the ageing process and how to dramatically
slow it down.


Our bodies are programmed to grow rapidly when we are young, mature
into adults, and then at a certain age the regeneration and repair of
our cells, tissue and organs grinds to a halt. All the mechanisms are
not yet completely mapped out, but the IBS team has made several
significant steps toward understanding how the lifespan of a cell is

The team believes that HEL-1 may act as a transcription regulator,
which control how cells convert DNA to RNA since other RNA helicases
do the same thing now. According to the team, “In contrast to the
expectation that RNA helicases have general housekeeping roles in RNA
metabolism, our findings reveal that the RNA helicase HEL-1 has
specific roles in a specific longevity pathway.”

Even if immortality isn’t an immediate result of this work, there are
other possible applications. Something called DDX39 (the mammalian
version of the roundworm’s HEL-1) is found in increased levels in the
frontal cortex of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The ability to
regulate DDX39 and other RNA helicases may give us an insight into
finding the ability to control Alzheimer’s disease, among other brain

Using the technique of altering RNA helicases to extend life in humans
looks promising as human and roundworm both have HEL-1 and IIS which
can be manipulated in similar ways. It isn’t clear if the same
mechanism is responsible for cellular aging regulation in humans, but
evidence suggests that it might be. This research hasn’t given
humanity a cure to any diseases or made any claims of human life
extension but it is an important first step in more fully
understanding the lifecycle and function of cells.

This research is also mentioned on Next Big Future.


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