Harnessing the Sun’s Power to Extend Life: Light-Activated Proton Pumps Generate Cellular Energy

Solar-powered cells generate energy and extend the life of cells by using light-activated proton pump

The journal Nature Aging published a new study that takes a cue from renewable energy. It shows that mitochondria genetically modified can convert light energy to chemical energy cells can use. This can extend the life span of the roundworm C.elegans. The idea of human cells being charged by sunlight is more science-fiction than reality, but the research sheds light on key mechanisms that influence the aging process.

The study’s senior author, Andrew Wojtovich Ph.D. is an associate professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine, Pharmacology & Physiology, at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

This study showed that boosting the metabolism with light-powered mitochondria led to healthier and longer lives for laboratory worms. These findings, along with new research tools, will allow us to study mitochondria in greater depth and find new ways to age healthier and treat age-related illnesses.


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