Scientists claim gene discovery holds anti-ageing key

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dna

A joint research project between scientists in Singapore and Germany claims that the discovery that genetic mutations lead to premature skin ageing could have impacts on anti-ageing formulations.

A mutation in the PYCR1 gene can cause a rare genetic condition that leads to premature ageing, a discovery that could lead to both a cure for the condition as well as a more effective means of formulating anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle formulations.

The scientists say their research has shown that by increasing the levels of the PYCR1 protein they have been able to reverse the gene mutation that causes the wrinkly skin condition, in turn giving an unexpected insight into possible solutions for the beauty industry.

International project

The project was led by Bruno Reversade, from the Singapore Institute of Medical Biology, which includes an international team of researchers from 13 countries that includes some 15 research institutes.

Dr. Reversade’s team analysed skin DNA samples from younger sufferers of the condition using a bioinformatics tool.

The research clearly showed a link between the PYCR1 protein and the extent of the skin wrinkling, as well as other age-related conditions such as loss of bone density and hip dislocation.

Skin wrinkling affected by PYCR1 protein

The researchers concluded that saggy skin and loss of bone density were the two areas that were most affected by depleted levels of PYCR1 protein, and concluded that developing therapies to increase the activity of this protein could possibly reverse the effects.

The scientists used frog and fish growth models to determine the effects of lower PYCR1 protein levels by completely shutting it off, concluding that the mitochondrial function in the skin models was altered, leading to an increased occurrence of cell death.

“Our findings confirm the significance of mitochondrial function in the ageing process,”​ said Dr. Reversade.

“They also unexpectedly highlight the importance of metabolism as PYCR1 is important in the synthesis of praline, a common amino acid in metabolism.

“Age-defying and anti-wrinkling treatments for common disorders related to ageing may also benefit from sustaining praline metabolism​.”

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