VRK-1 Protein Activation Increased Lifespan of Worms

South Korean researchers increased production of the VRK-1 protein to increase the lifespan of the C. elegans worm. The effect seems to be about a 30% increase when we look at the difference in 50% survival levels. It seems to be about 16 days versus 12 days.

Journal Science Advances – VRK-1 extends life span by activation of AMPK via phosphorylation

SOURCES- Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Science Advances
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

19 thoughts on “VRK-1 Protein Activation Increased Lifespan of Worms”

  1. Yes, introducing modified mitochondria is something you'd do via IV; They have to be alive, and making them tough enough to deliver by pill would be a bit of a challenge.

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  2. From what I have read, most of the very old have just as many bad genes as the rest of us. The trick is that they have some genes that silence some of those bad genes.

    We haven't been doing this stuff long enough to know which approaches will yield the best results. I think the best approach is to learn as much as we can from many angles. Each can inform the others. If some approaches come up dry, and others give a lot, then you relocate to what is wining.

    Those worms have a lot of the same genes we do or rather variations on them. By dealing with very short lived creatures we can test things faster and test many things in parallel very cheaply. They can test things they really have no reason to think will work. When you do thousands of those, sometimes there is a happy surprise. Even with mice, that could get very expensive.

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  3. I bought a kilo of it yesterday for less than $35. I got similar good deals on Quercetin and Piper Longum. Fisetin is more challenging.
    But as fisetin is not patented, and there are other sources than strawberries, prices will come down. They just have to plant a bunch of trees they grow the thorns they harvest…and wait for them to grow. Or maybe some company will modify some bacteria to make the stuff.
    I remember when grape seed extract was over a dollar a pill. Now you can pick it up at Costco for 11 cents a pill and those pills have more in them.
    Now, if you want yourself genetically modified, then you need a million dollars or two.
    Fasting also has great results. That costs less than not fasting. Exercise you can do at home with milk jugs filled with sand, or there are a thousand other ways to exercise at home. A jump rope is cheap. Stairs are easy to find. I have some very sturdy empty cat food bags I am planing on filling, but haven't yet figured out what to put in. If it bursts, I don't want a difficult mess, and I don't want to pay a lot for something that is just filler. I have a bunch of rabbit feed. My last rabbit died 2 years ago. Not sure what kind of mess I will have if I break it.
    I saw a lot of people buying big bags of rice. If it was not paper, it is probably a pretty good bag. So if you haven't opened it, it should be a pretty good piece of exercise equipment. I have some 50 lb bags of popping corn I am considering tossing around.

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  4. Yeow. $120/month…for life. I wonder how longevity is effected by voluntarily taking supplements that cost so much they induce poverty. Poverty kills.
    Seriously, only the rich will be able to afford the likely panoply of supplements – none approved by the FDA and none covered by insurance. And the rich already outlive the average, so it's a skewed baseline, and may not even be one that can be improved upon much.

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  5. While I agree…to an extent. And ultimately the genetically modified embryos approach has the best chance for life in the hundreds of years. But I think we still have to throw a large net, and do these kinds of experiments. We would not know what we know about senolytics or Metformin and other drugs, if we did not use rodents. Granted, much of, but not all of, the antioxidant stuff was dubious because we have natural antioxidants that are far more powerful than what the rodents have. But in other respects, they may be good aging models.
    Scientests found another just recently: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/bodybuilding-supplement-promotes-healthy-aging-and-extends-life-span-least-mice
    We also have to look for unusual people. Several people have been born who feel no pain, but one, a lady in England had another mutation that made it so she healed rapidly without scaring. It is this second trait that interests me. If people are going to live very long lives, they are going to accumulate a lot of scars, joints that don't heal perfectly, and such: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/healing-powers-no-pain-mutant-gene-scotland-a8842836.html
    It can be important to find people who live to 100 or more but some organ or another is exceptionally healthy. There likely is a gene or genes involved. Just looking for people who live long may not be enough. The people with the very healthy liver, lungs, kidneys, heart, or brain may tell us more about which genes to modify.

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  6. If the people that laughed at him when he was a prophet in the wilderness, pay attention to him now, it makes clear they were wrong, and he was not. If they ignore him, they can avoid part of the cognitive dissonance he causes them.

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  7. Instead of focusing on increasing the lifespan of worms wouldn't it be better to compare the DNA of people who are in their 100th year of life with regular people to see which factors are important.

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  8. Actually, the duplicated mitochondrial genes probably could be put in a pill, since it's possible to introduce new mitochondria in vivo, and they reproduce with their own genes.

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  9. But will future generations thank us for creating immortal worms?

    More seriously, with so many different avenues (40+?) being pursued for life extension, from gut bacteria to brain implants, Brian could probably get some traction with an occasional "Carnival of Life Extension" summation article.

    I still see affordable indefinite life extension (essentially, immunity to aging), something I call "lesser immortality," as being the key. Once we have it, all the rest of the future science we would like to see becomes more a matter of when, not if.

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  10. Yeah, the basic problem with doing longevity experiments in short lived species, is that almost all the interventions that work are just duplicating something our own biology already implements.

    I understand the appeal, you get results fast. But you get results that are usually not worth much in terms of helping humans live longer.

    The place where it's really at is studying long lived species that aren't closely related to humans. Especially species that on general principles you wouldn't expect to be long lived. Naked mole rats. Parrots.

    This is where you find longevity strategies, like the Naked mole rat's ribosomes, with their higher fidelity transcription, or the parrots' duplicated mitochondrial genes, that aren't already present in humans, and thus have potential to boost our lifespans.

    You study winners to learn how to win. Not losers.

    I'll grant that you tend to find longevity strategies that aren't easy to put into a pill. I seriously doubt we're going to put longevity into a pill. We're going to have to genetically engineer our descendants into being a longer lived species.

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  11. I wouldn't disparage the increased metabolic/ cellular maintenance functioning that comes with exercise, heat therapy, and calorie restriction. I would argue that it increases the success of future damage repair. It's like not maintaining your car and hoping that the mechanic will simply make it 'like new' every 3 – 5 years rather than simply augmenting the regular oil changes, cleaning, and maintenance which gives the vehicle several more useful years. Why trash yourself and hope that the future body mechanic is skilled enough (and you're rich enough) to undo all the abuse. I am not a big fan of calorie restriction (though I haven't investigated/ tried it) since I love to eat and it seems a miserable attack on quality of life to undertake that for decades – i'd rather put in a few more hours a week at the gym for each additional steak.
    I am a bit glad that de Grey has toned it down as he was a bit of an ideologue and moralizer — not wrong of course, but the tone was so off-putting and the idea that it was our moral imperative to stomp out ageing as something like a crusade. Saying that his cause is more noble than all others is the surest way to scare off investors, researchers, and much of the public. At the end of the day, its just like any other service – you have a procedure, you have qualified researchers and staff, and you have the consumers – public. Supply and demand. The problem is that most of the repair strategies are in such preliminary stages.

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  12. Lifespan increases in worms and other short lived species like mice fall into 2 categories – upregulation of the calorie restriction response, or damage repair. The first category is not really interesting for life extension in humans.

    A more interesting topic/news would be Aubrey de Grey's keynote speech at the Ending Age Related Diseases conference yesterday:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GjMolz6ZeE&t=13s

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