Scientists at the University of California have found a way to extend the life of a female fruit fly (fruit midge) by 20% by manipulating the so-called "cellular time machine." The object of their research was the mitochondria - the structures of cells about 1 micrometer in size, which are responsible for the production of energy.
Scientists have noticed that in the organism of Drosophila, the content of the Drp 1 protein decreases with aging. At the same time, the shape of mitochondria changes - they increase in size and become elongated. Scientists hypothesized that these processes are somehow related and increased the content of Drp 1 protein in cells.
The result was not slow to show itself: the number of elongated mitochondria decreased markedly, and the number of normal mitochondria increased accordingly. In addition, fruit flies that received an additional portion of Dpr 1 lived significantly longer than their counterparts - males by 12%, and females - by 20%.
Drosophila mitochondria (shown in green) used in the study. The top left picture was taken at 10 days, the top right picture was 28 days old, and both bottom pictures were taken at the age of 37 days. In this case, the right image shows a decrease in mitochondria to the size characteristic of younger individuals, after receiving the Drp1 protein
It should be noted that scientists often use fruit flies in their experiments to study aging processes, since at the cellular level they are in many ways similar to "human" aging. Based on these results, the researchers hope to create drugs that extend human life in the future.