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Grantee in the News: David Walker on Mitochondria and longevity in Nature Communications

Sep 7
2017

Grantee in the News: David Walker on Mitochondria and longevity in Nature Communications View MoreBACK

On September 6, 2017, Nature Communications published research by 2009 AFAR Research Grant recipient and 2015 Julie Martin Mid-career Awards in Aging Research recipient David W. Walker, PhD.

The study, Promoting Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission in midlife prolongs healthy lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster, involved breaking up enlarged and damaged mitochondria of fruit flies into smaller pieces by increasing their levels of the Drp1 protein.

The researchers found the flies became more active and energetic and had more endurance.

They also found that female flies lived 20% longer than their typical lifespan, while males lived 12% longer, on average. The research highlights the importance of the protein Drp1 in aging, at least in flies and mice, where levels of Drp1 drop with age.

In a related feature story, Dr. Walker told GEN: "We think the fact that the mitochondria become larger and elongated impairs the cell's ability to clear the damaged mitochondria. And our research suggests dysfunctional mitochondria accumulate with age, rather than being discarded."

The full Nature Communications study can be read here.

The full GEN article can be read here.

The research has also been picked up by Futurism and Mitochondrial Disease News.


David W. Walker, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.


For more information on Mitochondria, we encourage you to explore our expert-edited Infoaging Guide to Mitochondria and Aging here.





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