Researchers at the University of Michigan identified new mechanisms of the rapamycin. Their discoveries would help to use the compound as an anti-aging drug.
Rapamycin was discovered in 1972, at one of the Easter Islands. This compound is produced by soil bacteria. Today, scientists use it as anti-cancer drugs and immunosuppressants, according to MedicalXpress. The team of the University of Michigan revealed mechanisms, which would help to combat aging.
The study was published in PLOS Biology.
Scientists explained mechanisms that were already utilized in current rapamycin-based drugs. The compound inhibits mTOR, the structure, which regulates cell growth and cleaning induced by lysosomes. These structures process defected proteins and organelles into useful products.
Xiaoli Zhang with her colleagues found the mechanism of interaction of rapamycin and lysosomes. Scientists already suggested the structure should influence on one pathway, inducing the autophagy (self-eating cleaning). Now the team identified this structure, the calcium ion channel called TRPML1. This structure is the important part of the lysosomal membrane.
TRPML1 helps to maintain healthy cells’ condition.
“Without this channel, you get neurodegeneration,” said Haoxing Xu, principal investigator of the study. “If you stimulate the channel, it’s anti-neurodegeneration.”
The team used the method called lysosome patch clamp to identify rapamycin’s functions. Experiments showed the compound opens TRPML1 regardless of the mTOR activity. Without this cannel, rapamycin wasn’t able to induce autophagy. This result highlighted the importance of the link for the anti-aging products. Cleaning of defective proteins and organelles is the key aspect of maintaining the cell’s youth.