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Exploring How Rapamycin Improves How Our DNA Is Stored

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Journal ClubJournal Club
 

Journal Club returns live to our Facebook channel on June 29th at noon Eastern Time with Dr. Oliver Medvedik. This month, we are taking a look at rapamycin, a drug that has long been believed to slow down aging, and how it changes the way DNA is stored inside cells to support gut health and longevity [1]. You may also like to read our coverage of this paper here for context.

Rapamycin appears to support genomic stability

This paper is important because researchers have shown that rapamycin doesn’t just slow metabolism down via mTOR, it also supports genomic stability via increasing histones and improves how tightly packed DNA is. This improvement to DNA storage has been observed in both fruit flies and mice in the lab, and the researchers believe that those benefits could translate to humans.

Abstract

Age-related changes to histone levels are seen in many species. However, it is unclear whether changes to histone expression could be exploited to ameliorate the effects of ageing in multicellular organisms. Here we show that inhibition of mTORC1 by the lifespan-extending drug rapamycin increases expression of histones H3 and H4 post-transcriptionally through eIF3-mediated translation. Elevated expression of H3/H4 in intestinal enterocytes in Drosophila alters chromatin organisation, induces intestinal autophagy through transcriptional regulation, and prevents age-related decline in the intestine. Importantly, it also mediates rapamycin-induced longevity and intestinal health. Histones H3/H4 regulate expression of an autophagy cargo adaptor Bchs (WDFY3 in mammals), increased expression of which in enterocytes mediates increased H3/H4-dependent healthy longevity. In mice, rapamycin treatment increases expression of histone proteins and Wdfy3 transcription, and alters chromatin organisation in the small intestine, suggesting that the mTORC1-histone axis is at least partially conserved in mammals and may offer new targets for anti-ageing interventions.

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Literature

[1] Lu, Y. X., Regan, J. C., Eßer, J., Drews, L. F., Weinseis, T., Stinn, J., … & Partridge, L. (2021). A TORC1-histone axis regulates chromatin organisation and non-canonical induction of autophagy to ameliorate ageing. Elife, 10, e62233.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.
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