April 19, 2024

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They introduce tardigrade proteins into human cells, and that's what happened

They introduce tardigrade proteins into human cells, and that's what happened

A team of researchers from University of Wyoming You have just taken an important step in understanding how tardigrades manage to survive practically anything. What's more, it has shown that introducing certain proteins from these nearly indestructible creatures into human cells slows down molecular processes. This makes these proteins ideal candidates for developing technologies aimed at slowing aging.

Also known as water bears, they are able to survive in the harshest environmental conditions. They typically measure less than half a millimeter, but can be cooled to temperatures just above absolute zero (-273.15 degrees, when all molecular motion stops), safely heated to approximately 150 degrees, or irradiated several thousand times. It can be tolerated by humans. In fact, they are able to survive the cold and intense radiation bombardment from outer space, as proven in experiments conducted on the International Space Station.

Although it seems clear today that their incredible resistance has a lot to do with their ability to slow down their metabolism, “protect” their bodies with hard armor and remain in a state of suspended animation until conditions improve, the mechanisms behind these actions have yet to be elucidated. Complete metabolism.

They turn their soles into a gelatinous substance

The new study was just published in the journal “Protein Science”, I focused specifically on these mechanisms. Under the supervision of Silvia Sanchez Martinez from the University of Wyoming, the researchers focused on a specific protein called CAHS D, which is already known to protect against severe dehydration (dehydration) of an organism. Through a variety of methods, the researchers showed how CAHS D turns into something gel-like when exposed to pressure, keeping the molecules protected while preventing dehydration.

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“This study, write the scientists, provides information about how tardigrades and other drought-tolerant organisms survive desiccation by taking advantage of biomolecular condensation. “Beyond stress tolerance, our findings provide an avenue to pursue technologies focused on stimulating biostimulation in cells and even entire organisms to slow aging.”

Previous research has already uncovered a fair number of “tricks” that tardigrades use to survive, which have been developed over hundreds of millions of years of patient evolution. But basically, they are very good at slowing down biological processes with the help of CAHS D, and this, the researchers say, could also be useful in human cells.

Tardigrade proteins

“Surprisingly – says Sanchez Martinez – when we introduce these proteins into human cells, they conform and slow down their metabolism, just as in tardigrades. “When human cells containing these proteins are put into a biostable state “They become more resistant to stress, giving them some tardigrade capabilities.”

Sanchez-Martinez and his colleagues believe that at some point, we will be able to figure out how to transfer some of this amazing resistance to our cells and tissues, which could slow biological aging and aid in therapies in which the cells are safely stored. Cells at cold temperatures are vital, as is the case in organ transplantation.

Finally, it is important to highlight that research shows that the entire process is reversible: “When stress is relieved,” says Thomas Boothby, senior author of the study, “the slow-moving gels dissolve and human cells return to normal metabolism.”