The Breach of Our DNA Security – Part 1

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted March 16, 2021

Dear Longevity Insider,

Cells need protein to grow and repair. Our bodies have safety measures in place to keep the production of proteins stable and without defects. However, sometimes these measures fail. This can lead to a cascade of errors that contribute to one of the primary causes of aging.

The biological definition of aging is the many processes of cellular damage accumulation in the body and these are known in the scientific literature as the Nine Hallmarks of Aging. The first four hallmarks are considered primary since they are believed to be actual causes of aging and have a definitively negative effect on DNA. The fourth hallmark, and the last of the primary, is loss of proteostasis.

Loss of proteostasis happens when the protein-building processes in the body go awry and the systems that eliminate damaged proteins malfunction. This leads to the accumulation of excess proteins, where they begin to cluster and cause disease, such as Alzheimer’s.

Transcribing the code

In our previous article on genomic instability, we illustrated how our DNA contains the genetic instructions for making proteins. And our telomere attrition article described the smaller units of DNA called nucleotide bases. In a process called transcription, when a cell is ready to copy its information, an enzyme called RNA polymerase binds to the DNA in a region known as the promotor.

In a manner similar to unzipping, RNA polymerase moves along the DNA making an exact, but opposite single strand of messenger RNA. The order of the bases is determined by the DNA code. The DNA continues to unwind ahead of the messenger RNA and rewinds behind it. The RNA polymerase enzyme helps to stabilize the molecules while the DNA is open, or unzipped.

Translating the code

Once the whole gene has been read, the messenger RNA travels out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm, a gel-like substance inside the cell membrane. Protein factories called ribosomes then bind to the messenger RNA. The ribosome reads the code in blocks of three bases at a time, known as codons.

Each codon contains instructions for one of 20 different amino acids. The ribosome then produces a chain where the corresponding amino acids are strung together. The sequence and chemical reactions along the molecule allow it to fold, twist or coil into elaborate structures called polypeptides, which create protein. Each structure has specific functions within the body...

More about that on Thursday.

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ