Washington: In a major finding which mayhave relevance to human biology, scientists have identified akey protein which is involved in the longevity of roundworms. A team at Thomas Jefferson University has found thatworms born without this protein, called arrestin, lived aboutone-third longer than normal, while worms that had triple theamount of arrestin lived one-third less.
The worm, for example, has one arrestin gene, whereashumans have four. Worms only have 302 neurons compared to the100 billion or so in the human brain. In addition, their shortlifespan of two to three weeks allows for timely observationof effects on longevity. The team studied signalling pathways activated by Gprotein-coupled receptors. These receptors bind to all kindsof hormones, sensory stimuli, and neurotransmitters which thenactivate a cascade of signals inside the cell. They regulate many physiological processes and are thetarget for about half of the drugs currently on the market. "When it comes to receptors, worms are actually morecomplex. Humans have about 800 different kinds of G protein-coupled receptors while the worm has about 1,800. It reliesupon these receptors to respond to sensory stimuli as well asvarious neurotransmitters and hormones," Benovic said. PTI
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