Restoring Mitochondrial Function

From Science, a new method of potentially repairing mitochondrial function in cases of free-radical damaged mitochondrial DNA - and thus preventing the chain of events that turns a fraction of your cells into free-radical producing monsters that contribute to degenerative aging. Interestingly, this mechanism was discovered through examination of a class of disease causing parasite, Leishmania. A number of age-related conditions - and some fraction of aging itself - "are caused by mutations in mitochondrial (mt) transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. Kinetoplastid protozoa, including Leishmania, have evolved specialized systems for importing nucleus-encoded tRNAs into mitochondria. We found that the Leishmania RNA import complex (RIC) could enter human cells [where] it induced import of endogenous cytosolic tRNAs [and] restored mitochondrial function." Nicely done.