MAY 23, 2019 11:29 PM PDT

Rapamycin and Anti-Aging

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Rapamycin was considered a wonder drug upon its discovery three decades ago when it was isolated from soil bacteria. It works as an immuno-suppressor in a variety of ways and has been to reduce immune responses in patients who received organ transplants. Now, rapamycin is garnering popularity again for its potential role in cancer therapy, neuroprotection, and most notably in anti-aging therapies.

Rapamycin inhibits cell growth by targeting mTOR--the master regulator of cell growth in our cells. The targeting of mTOR leads to autophagy, a process by which cellular lysosomes eradicate misfolded proteins and damaged organelles.

"The main function of the lysosome is to maintain the healthy state of the cell because it degrades the harmful stuff within the cell," said Xiaoli Zhang, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Michigan Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. "During stress conditions, autophagy can lead to the cell survival by degrading dysfunctional components and providing the building blocks of cells, such as amino acids and lipids."

Now, new research points to more than one cellular pathway being targeted by the rapamycin such pathway involves a calcium ion channel on the lysosomal membrane known as TRPML1 and is critical in regulating lysosomal function. "Without this channel, you get neurodegeneration," said Haoxing Xu, principal investigator of the study. "If you stimulate the channel, it's anti-neurodegeneration."

Findings were published in PLOS Biology.

"We think lysosomal TRPML1 may contribute significantly to the neuroprotective and anti-aging effects of rapamycin," says lead author Wei Chen, who worked on investigating TRPML1 by using a unique technique called a lysosome patch clamp. "The identification of a new target of rapamycin offers an insight in developing the next generation of rapamycin, which will have a more specific effect on neurodegenerative disease."

Source: Medical Xpress

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUN 18, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUN 18, 2019
Antifungal Drug May Bring Relief to CF Patients
Cystic fibrosis affects around 700,000 people worldwide. New research has found a potential treatment for patients that don't respond to current therapies....
JUN 18, 2019
Health & Medicine
JUN 18, 2019
A Rare and Potent Sea Fighter: An End to Melanoma Cells?
The researchers discovered a natural product, seriniquinone, derived from marine bacterium that can help kill the severe skin cancer cells or the melanoma cells....
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
JUN 18, 2019
Drug for Huntington Disease Successfully Lowers Culprit Protein
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a drug for the first time was shown to successfully lower the abnormal protein that causes the...
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Treatment for Social Anxiety Proves Insufficient
In a Japanese study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, antidepressant drugs targeted for treating patients with a social anxiety di...
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Regimen Improves Clinical Outcomes for Kidney Transplant Patients
Recent preliminary clinical trial results indicate the immunosuppressive drug belatacept can safely and effectively treat kidney transplant patients withou...
JUN 18, 2019
Drug Discovery
JUN 18, 2019
Injectable Hydrogel Recruits Chemotherapeutics to Tumor Site
Targeting tumor cells while avoiding harming healthy tissue remains a growing central challenge in the field of chemotherapeutics. For a while, scientists ...
Loading Comments...