Autophagy is an important biological cycle mechanism in which all animal tissues maintain homeostasis. Many studies have attempted to reveal the relationship between reduced levels of autophagy and animal aging, but so far no clear explanation has been drawn.

A team led by Tamotsu Yoshimori of Osaka University in 2009 found that a protein called Rubicon can inhibit autophagy by controlling a special step in autophagy as a protein factor. This time, the team found that the expression levels of Rubicon protein in worms, flies and mouse tissues increased in an age-related manner. The related research results were recently published in Nature Communications.

Autophagy can help degrade damaged organelles and help avoid a range of diseases associated with cellular stress and disorders, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolic syndrome. Recent studies have found that decreased levels of autophagy are associated with animal aging processes. Although the aging process can be delayed by increasing the level of autophagy in aging animals in a number of ways, no studies have yet clearly indicated the reason for the natural decline in autophagy levels.

It was previously known that Rubicon is involved in the inhibition of autophagy, and that knocking out Rubicon proteins in mice can eliminate autophagy-associated liver disease. Based on this fact, it can be assumed that the Rubicon may directly affect aging through its interaction with autophagy.

In this study, the researchers found elevated levels of Rubicon protein in a variety of aging organisms. When the researchers inhibited the expression of Rubicon, all model animals exhibited higher levels of autophagy, which led to improvements in various aging-related factors and prolonged the lifespan of worms and flies.

According to Shuhei Nakamura, lead author of the study, it is found that inhibition of Rubicon will led to a reduction in aging-related decline in function and a reduction in fibrosis. Another important finding is that inhibition of the Rubicon can cause aging mice to resist factors that may cause Parkinson's disease.

To sum up, this study suggests that elevated levels of Rubicon will result in decreased levels of autophagy in aging animals, and inhibition of Rubicon may be key to extending human health. This is definitely a good news for the mankind who has been striving for immortality since ancient times.

Author's Bio: 

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