Single gene deletion in mice boosts lifespan

Researchers have created a mutant mouse that lives longer despite eating more and weighing less — all thanks to the loss of a single protein.

Without this protein, the body is less susceptible to the heart-pounding effects of the hormone adrenaline, and may become more resistant to some forms of stress.

Scientists are already developing drugs to inhibit this protein, called type 5 adenylyl cyclase (AC5). “Clearly we would be very interested in such a compound,” says cardiologist Stephen Vatner, who is part of the team that discovered this effect.

Currently, the main focus of ageing research is on using calorie restriction as a way of activating a metabolic ‘fountain of youth’. The new discovery, that knocking out a single cardiac gene could lengthen lifespan, was an unexpected byproduct of heart research.

Vatner, together with Junichi Sadoshima and other colleagues at the New Jersey Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, had initially set out to determine whether getting rid of AC5 leads to a healthier heart.

Source:  Nature

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