Scientists Slow Aging by Engineering Longevity in Cells
Published:17 May2023    Source:University of California - San Diego
the UC San Diego group uncovered that, under the control of a central gene regulatory circuit, cells don't necessarily age the same way. Imagine a car that ages either as the engine deteriorates or as the transmission wears out, but not both at the same time. The UC San Diego team envisioned a “smart aging process” that extends cellular longevity by cycling deterioration from one aging mechanism to another.
In the new study, the researchers genetically rewired the circuit that controls cell aging. From its normal role functioning like a toggle switch, they engineered a negative feedback loop to stall the aging process. The rewired circuit operates as a clock-like device, called a gene oscillator, that drives the cell to periodically switch between two detrimental “aged” states, avoiding prolonged commitment to either, and thereby slowing the cell’s degeneration.
These advances resulted in a dramatically extended cellular lifespan, setting a new record for life extension through genetic and chemical interventions.