Research

Protein interplay in muscle tied to life span

Messy muscle

More protein aggregates, shown as green specks, built up over 1, 3, and 5 weeks (left to right) in the muscle fibers of control flies (top row) compared to those in which dawdle, which hinders their cleanup, was suppressed (bottom row). Credit: Tatar lab/Brown University

Brown University biologists have uncovered a complicated chain of molecular events that leads from insulin to protein degradation in muscles and significantly diminished life span in fruit flies. The new study in PLoS Genetics, which may have broad implications across species, identifies the fly version of the mammalian protein activin as the central culprit in the process.