Max Planck Institute (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft) researchers discovered a microbe (a species of yeast) that is rejuvenated every time it reproduces, according to the September 13, 2013 news release, "Immune to aging." The study's results is published in the journal Current Biology. Whereas aging remains an inevitable fact of life, Max Planck researchers have discovered a microbe that stays forever young by rejuvenating every time it reproduces. The findings provide fundamental insights into the mechanisms of aging. Does this microbe's ability inspire future scientists to find a way to end aging by discovering a new way to keep rejuvenating each time one reproduces? Or will it remain science fiction for the next century? The essence of holistic health is to learn from another species a new concept that could be applied to your own species in the future.
In general, even symmetrically dividing microbes do not split into two exactly identical halves. Detailed investigations revealed that there are mechanisms in place that ensure that one half receives older, often defective, cell material, whereas the other half is equipped with new fully-functional material. So microbes produce offspring that is younger than the parent – like is the case with humans. How many times did you associate a species of yeast with the concept of anti-aging? Here's inspiration for scientific creativity to read the study and be motivated by it. What do some species of yeast know that you could learn from or apply to something else?
The original paper is "Fission yeast does not age under favorable conditions, but does so after stress." It's published in the September 12, 2013 issue of the journal Current Biology - Cell. Authors are Miguel Coelho, Aygül Dereli, Anett Haese, Sebastian Kühn, Liliana Malinovska, Morgan E. DeSantis, James Shorter, Simon Alberti, Thilo Gross and Iva M. Tolić-Nørrelykke.
The research team showed that, unlike other species, the yeast Schizosaccheromyces pombe is immune to aging when reproducing under favorable growth conditions. When the yeast is treated well, it reproduces by splitting into two halves that both inherit their fair share of old cell material. As both cells get only half of the damaged material, they are both younger than before. “The yeast is rejuvenated a bit every time it reproduces,” explains Iva Tolic-Norrelykke, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and lead investigator on the project, according to the news release.
Once subjected to negative influences like chemicals or heat, the yeast cells started splitting into a younger and an older half just like other cells. While the older cells eventually died, their offspring survived long enough to reproduce even in the harsh environments. The findings highlight S. pombe as an interesting organism that could potentially serve as a model of certain non-aging types of cells in humans, such as germ cells, stem cells and cancer cells. Also check out these science videos on other studies from the Max Planck Institute, "The mysterious hominids from the Denisova Cave." Or see, "Bonobos - chimpanzees' gentle cousins." And if you're wondering how smart your dog is, see, "Dogs' clever minds."