Scientists Discover A Molecular Switch Controlling Life Expectancy
Recent research has shown that the protein CHIP controls the insulin receptor better when acting alone as opposed to in a pair state. CHIP is often found as a homodimer, which is an association of identical proteins. Its main function in cellular stress conditions is to destroy misfolded or defective proteins. CHIP cleanses the cells. CHIP binds a small chain of ubiquitin, a protein that is found in misfolded proteins.
The cell then detects defective proteins and eliminates them. CHIP also controls the insulin receptor signaling. CHIP binds and degrades the receptor, which prevents the activation of gene products that extend life.
Researchers at the University of Cologne demonstrated that CHIP could also label itself using ubiquitin. This prevented the dimer from forming. The CHIP monomer controls insulin signaling better than the CHIP dimer. The study was published by the Journal Molecular Cell and conducted by University of Cologne’s Cluster of Excellence in Cellular Stress Responses to Aging-Associated Diseases.