Mitochondria and the damage they accumulate as a result of their operation are important in the process of degenerative aging. Further, declining mitochondrial function is a feature in many age-related conditions. Many researchers focus their studies on mitochondrial function, differences in mitochondria between species and how that determines life span, alterations in mitochondrial operation that occur in connection with life-extending interventions in laboratory animals, and similar areas. These days that often involves producing a great deal of data for later analysis:
In efforts to understand what influences life span, cancer and aging, scientists are building roadmaps to navigate and learn about cells at the molecular level. To survey previously uncharted territory, a team of [researchers] created an "atlas" that maps more than 1,500 unique landmarks within mitochondria that could provide clues to the metabolic connections between caloric restriction and aging.
The map, as well as the techniques used to create it, could lead to a better understanding of how cell metabolism is re-wired in some cancers, age-related diseases and metabolic conditions such as diabetes. "It's really a dynamic atlas for regulatory points in mitochondrial function - there are many interesting avenues that other scientists can follow up on. It could take years for researchers to understand what it all means, but at least now we have a list of the most important players."
[The scientists] conducted earlier research on the mitochondrial protein Sirt3, where they suggested a link between Sirt3 and the benefits of caloric restriction in situations such as the prevention of age-related hearing loss. The new research [more] broadly identifies pathways in mitochondria that could be behind the rewiring of metabolism. Their work uncovered regulatory processes that maintain mitochondrial health, control cells' ability to metabolize fat and amino acids, as well as stimulate antioxidant responses.