New Tool To Study Ageing
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New Tool To Study Ageing

Karolinska Institutet researchers have developed a new research tool for studying how mitochondrial protein synthesis is affected by the disease, pharmaceuticals, aging, and different physiological situations such as exercise and diet.

The mitochondria are the powerhouse of our cells and are vital for converting the energy in the food we eat to a useful cellular energy currency. Proper regulation of mitochondrial function is significant for humans. There are a large number of known inherited mitochondrial disorders that often impair the function of the heart, brain, skeletal muscle, and other organs. The decreased mitochondrial function also plays an essential role in aging and age-associated human diseases.

Novel strategy- New Tool To Study Ageing

Nils-Göran Larsson said that it is crucial to unravel how mitochondrial function is regulated to understand these disorders better and develop new treatment strategies. She is a professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet, who led the study.

New Tool To Study Ageing Joanna Rohrbach, Nils-Göran Larsson, and Miriam Cipullo, researchers at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. Photo: Leona Rohrbeck. Credits: Karolinska Institutet

Mitochondria contain their protein synthesis factories, the mitoribosomes, that are different from the other ribosomes in the cell. Although there has been marked progress in the scientists’ understanding of the structure and composition of the mitoribosome recently, the regulation of their function is poorly understood.

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Recently, the scientists at Karolinska Institutet described a novel strategy to identify proteins that interact & regulate the mitoribosome. They have created a model called the MitoRibo-Tag mice, in which every mitoribosome contains a small tag that can be used as a type of fishing rod to isolate mitoribosomes. Using large-scale proteomics analyses, the new tool enables the identification of interacting proteins in a variety of tissues.

New Tool To Study Ageing- A valuable tool

The scientists identified all 82 proteins that make up the mitochondrial ribosome. Also, a large number of associated factors. Some of the identified factors are novel mitochondrial proteins of unknown function that have essential roles in controlling mitochondrial protein synthesis.

Miriam Cipullo, PhD student at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, said that the team believe that the MitoRibo-Tag mice will be a unique tool for future studies of how mitochondrial protein synthesis is affected by disease, pharmacological interventions, aging and different physiological situations such as exercise, caloric restriction, and high-fat diet.

The research was supported by the Max Planck Society, Karolinska Institutet, the Knut, and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the European Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society among other institutes.

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Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.