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Lifespan Quotes Showing 1-3 of 3
“Broken DNA causes genome instability, I wrote, which distracts the Sir2 protein, which changes the epigenome, causing the cells to lose their identity and become sterile while they fixed the damage. Those were the analog scratches on the digital DVDs. Epigenetic changes cause aging.”
“Sirtuins instruct the histone spooling proteins to bind up DNA tightly, while they leave other regions to flail around. In this way, some genes stay silent, while others can be accessed by DNA-binding transcription factors that turn genes on.12 Accessible genes are said to be in “euchromatin,” while silent genes are in “heterochromatin.” By removing chemical tags on histones, sirtuins help prevent transcription factors from binding to genes, converting euchromatin into heterochromatin.”
“The longevity genes I work on are called “sirtuins,” named after the yeast SIR2 gene, the first one to be discovered. There are seven sirtuins in mammals, SIRT1 to SIRT7, and they are made by almost every cell in the body. When I started my research, sirtuins were barely on the scientific radar. Now this family of genes is at the forefront of medical research and drug development. Descended from gene B in M. superstes, sirtuins are enzymes that remove acetyl tags from histones and other proteins and, by doing so, change the packaging of the DNA, turning genes off and on when needed. These critical epigenetic regulators sit at the very top of cellular control systems, controlling our reproduction and our DNA repair. After a few billion years of advancement since the days of yeast, they have evolved to control our health, our fitness, and our very survival. They have also evolved to require a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD. As we will see later, the loss of NAD as we age, and the resulting decline in sirtuin activity, is thought to be a primary reason our bodies develop diseases when we are old but not when we are young.”