Monday, December 9, 2019

Microbe Might Provide Key to a Longer Healthier Life for Humans

The organism Caenorhabditis elegans has a simple structure but has genetic similarities to humans. This organism is able to change it's cuticle, a skin-like barrier, in response to infection. The nervous system changes the structure of the cuticle. Originally it was believed that the cuticle and human skin work in similar ways, they are just a barrier to infection, there was no response. This discovery may be able to help human health. The researchers used gene splicing and CRISPR gene editing to show that a G-protein-coupled receptor tied to a gene called NPR-8 regulates collagens. Collagens are proteins that are a key part to the structural component of the cuticle. When the NPR-8 was removed, the organism survived longer when exposed to pathogens. Without the receptor, the cuticle was also smooth instead of wrinkled like the wild type. Pathogens try to destroy the cuticle in order to infect the organism and the results showed that the nervous system was able to change its structure based on an immune response. Collagen loss can cause a lot of issues in humans, so studying this natural regulation of collagen may be beneficial to human health.

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It would be very beneficial to people if some type of treatment can be made to help collagen regulation, based on the research done on this organism. Humans have an extracellular matrix on all of their organs that have collagen in them. If there is too much or too little collagen, then problems can arise. It would be very cool to see how this organisms natural process of regulating collagen may help people in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's really interesting that the organism survived longer when exposed to pathogens. I also agree that it would be very beneficial to study this process in humans as well.