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Old 04-17-2008, 10:19 PM   #1
Toan Tran
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Houston  Texas
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the mechanisms by which caloric restriction works

ok, so i lied. scientists have only uncovered more details into the mechanisms by which CS works, but the details are very interesting. the original article can be found here (WFS): http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=41162

for those with w/o bio degrees (or short attention spans), here's a cliff notes version:

researchers found that, in yeast, CS led to reduced signaling through TOR (a very important signaling pathway involved in cell growth and other vital processes), which lead to a decreased rate in protein production. this, in turn, lead to more mutations in the large subunit of the ribosomes (organelles in cells where proteins are made). but aren't mutations bad? yes, but not in this case. read on...

Gcn4 is a transcription factor that helps transfer genetic info during cell growth. it is activated when cells are in need of amino acids. usually, when ribosomes aren't functioning at 100%, proteins aren't made as efficiently. but in the case of Gcn4, they found that ribosomes with mutations in their large subunit had increased levels of Gcn4. they also found that blocking the increase of Gnc4 prevented full life span extension.

this doesn't necessarily mean these mechanisms work the same way in other organisms. however, humans do have Gcn4-like proteins that appear to be regulated in a similar manner. it's known that the role of TOR and translation in aging is conserved across many different species, so the researchers think it might be possible that this specific function of Gnc4 is conserved as well.

another interesting aspect of the research is that they tested a drug called diazborine, which specifically interferes with synthesis of the ribosomes' large subunits, but not the small ones. could this lead to a pill with all the benefits of CS, but without all the starving? maybe. but that's still a long ways off. just stick to CS/zone and x-fit for now.
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