New study by Dr. Stefan Taubert finds crucial role for protein in promoting longevity

Authors: Kelsie R. S. Doering, Glafira Ermakova, Dr. Stefan Taubert

Title: NHR-49, a Nuclear Hormone Receptor, Plays a Crucial Role in Stress Resistance and Promoting Longevity in Caenorhabditis Elegans

Summary: The tiny worm Caenorhabditis elegans has a set of 284 special receptors in its genetic makeup. These receptors act as switches that perform different functions in the worm’s growth and body functions. One of these receptors, NHR-49, has been well-studied, as it is an essential contributor to longevity in several genetic and environmental contexts, and also plays vital roles in the resistance to stressors and immune responses to infection with various bacterial pathogens. 

In this recent publication, Dr. Taubert’s Lab found that NHR-49 helps control how C. elegans breaks down and metabolizes fats, which is a critical process in regulating their lifespan. They further learned that NHR-49 may help promote longevity through other mechanisms, such as stress response regulation, as stress and immune responses are activated in and contribute to many longevity contexts. The collective work of many labs has revealed complex roles of NHR-49 in the regulation of metabolism, lifespan, and stress responses. The next few years may reveal how NHR-49 achieves these effects, providing exciting new insights into the workings of this important regulator. They anticipate that future work on this protein will provide information that could be useful for developing strategies to age-associated declines in health and age-related human diseases.

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