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Old stain, new life

A traditional lab dye unexpectedly stabilizes proteins and extends lifespan in worms

Megan Scudellari
A small molecule used to stain protein deposits actually stabilizes proteins and profoundly extends lifespan in worms, a new study in linkurl:Nature;http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue.html demonstrates.
linkurl:C. elegans;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enlarged_c_elegans.jpg
Courtesy of the National Human
Genome Research Institute
The well-known laboratory dye could provide a starting point for a new class of therapeutics to slow the toxic aggregation of proteins in aging and diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease."What makes this study beautiful is that science takes something old and reveals something new," said linkurl:Richard Morimoto,;http://groups.molbiosci.northwestern.edu/morimoto/index.html who studies misfolded proteins and cell stress at Northwestern University and was not involved in the research. "Instead of just detecting the fibers, this [dye] is perhaps telling us something about the dynamics" of protein aggregation, he added.Amyloid-staining dyes like Congo red and Thioflavin T (ThT) are small molecules used regularly in histological techniques to stain proteins, especially in Alzheimer's research to visualize the amyloid beta plaques...
Caenorhabditis elegans,
Control C. elegans, 20 days old, under normal conditions. The worms
present very limited movement and reduced body size associated
with the aging process in these nematodes.
Courtesy of Silvestre Alavez, Buck Institute
Worms treated with ThT after 20 days in culture. ThT treated worms
display a great improvement in motility and appearance consistent
with a delay in the aging process.
Courtesy of Silvestre Alavez, Buck Institute
C. elegansC. elegans, Alavez, S., et al., "Amyloid-binding compounds maintain protein homeostasis during ageing and extend lifespan," Nature, doi:10.1038/nature09873.




Cell
J Biol Chem,

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