PLoS Biol. 16, e2005796 (2018)
A hallmark of aging is discoordination of cellular processes across multiple organ systems. However, the degree to which tissues interact, be it beneficial or harmful, remains unclear. A contemporary article sheds light on this phenomenon by using genetics in Drosophila melanogaster to characterize a cytokine secreted from muscle and adipose tissues that impacts the gastrointestinal tract. The protein, Diedel, is an anti-apoptosis factor that enhanced proliferative homeostasis of gut tissues, improving lifespan and healthspan of flies, when expressed at appropriate levels. And despite no homologs in vertebrates, it inhibited apoptosis in murine cell lines. Interestingly, a Diedel homolog exists in Lepidopteran DNA viruses. Authors speculate it functions as a virokine, facilitating virus replication by blocking programmed cell death.
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Nelson, C. Novel systemic factor mitigates aging. Lab Anim 47, 232 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41684-018-0141-5