Protein from water bears could potentially slow down aging in humans

Protein from water bears could potentially slow down aging in humans

Protein from water bears, also known as tardigrades, has been found to slow down the metabolism of human cells, potentially offering new pathways to reverse aging. Research published in the journal Protein Science suggests that a protein in tardigrades could be the key to slowing down the aging process in humans. However, further research is necessary to confirm this effect, as current experiments have only shown initial signs of its potential on shallow dishes.

Tardigrades are microscopic organisms known for their ability to survive extreme conditions such as dehydration, space travel, and being shot from the barrel of a gun. They can survive by transforming into dehydrated spheres and significantly reducing their metabolism to almost stopping. Scientists have discovered that proteins in tardigrades can also slow down metabolism in human cells, specifically focusing on a protein called CAHS D. When introduced into human cells, this protein changes into a gel-like consistency, similar to the process in tardigrades.

The research team found that human cells containing the CAHS D protein were better able to withstand stress when put into a state of circadian delay. This suggests that the protein could induce a state of biological dormancy in human cells, similar to how tardigrades enter a state of inactivity to survive harsh conditions. The ability to slow down metabolism in human cells could have implications for providing life-saving treatments, improving cell-based therapies, and potentially slowing down the aging process.

The study also revealed that the process of slowing down metabolism is reversible, meaning human cells can return to normal metabolism after being exposed to the tardigrade protein. This discovery opens up new possibilities for medical treatments where refrigeration is not available and could have significant implications for aging research. Continuing research on tardigrades in the laboratory may provide further insights into their unique abilities and applications in various fields.

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