The results will help develop ways to increase the activity vinculin in the human heart.
Researchers from the University of California in San Diego found that a high level of protein vinculin, which is involved in the formation of contacts between cells and extracellular matrix, prevents the aging of the heart in insects.
Cardiac muscle is formed by a fabric composed of cells of cardiomyocytes. Vinculin contained in the intercalated disks is specific dense structures of cardiomyocytes that mediate contacts between cells. With age, cells produce less protein, resulting in muscle tissue begins to shrink worse.
Scientists have created a genetically modified fruit flies, in cells which had DNA switches activating an additional copy of the gene encoding vinculin. The switches worked only in those cells that had the gene tinman, which is responsible for the development of the heart in Drosophila. The results of the experiment showed that flies with the gene overexpressing vinculin lived to nine weeks, while the duration of life of insects the wild-type was six weeks. In addition, genetically modified flies could absorb more glucose than usual.
The researchers hope that the results will help develop ways to increase the activity vinculin in the human heart that will prolong people’s lives.
In 2017, an international team of researchers headed by scientists from University College London found that the limitation of the activity of the enzyme RNA polymerase III (Pol III) increased lifespan in flies and worms.