Reduced food intake, known as dietary restriction, leads to a longer lifespan in many animals and can improve health in humans. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the positive effects of dietary restriction are still unclear. Scientists discover that a protein named ‘Sestrin’ extends the lifespan of fruit flies. They specifically found that these flies were protected from the life-shortening implications of a protein rich diet.
"We wanted to know which factor is responsible for measuring nutrients in the cell, especially amino acids, and how this factor affects the TOR pathway," explains Jiongming Lu, researcher in the department of Linda Partridge at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing. "We focused on a protein called Sestrin, which was suggested to sense amino acids. However, no one has ever demonstrated amino acid sensing function of Sestrin in a living being."
Learn more about the life-cycle of a fruit fly (Drosophila Melanogaster):
"Our results in flies revealed Sestrin as a novel potential anti-ageing factor," says Linda Partridge, head of the research team. "We could show that the Sestrin protein binds certain amino acids. When we inhibited this binding, the TOR signalling pathway in the flies was less active and the flies lived longer," adds Lu. "Flies with a mutated Sestrin protein unable to bind amino acids showed improved health in the presence of a protein-rich diet."
Could Sestrin be potentially an anti-aging drug in the future?
Source: Science Daily