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How to Turn Back Our Biological Clocks

Using four factors to rejuvenate cells and prevent age-related disease

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Part I: Damaged Lego Bricks — Epigenetics & Aging

The Hallmarks of Aging

A visual representation of the hallmarks of aging. Adapted from The Hallmarks of Aging. Image by author.

Epigenetics: The Most Important Hallmark?

These lego bricks represent our genome. Image by author.
A simplified diagram of the protein production process. Image by author.
The blue blocks laid on top of the genome represent the epigenome. Image by author.
The epigenome can prevent some genes from being expressed. One way this happens is by blocking certain enzymes from reading the genome. Image by author.

Part II: Righting Wrongs — Cellular Rejuvenation

Stem cells can specialize into different cell types. Image by author.

A Deeper Dive Into Reprogramming

A set of genes including the Oct3/4, Sox2, Myc, and Klf4 genes. (Remember the blue blocks on top represent the epigenome). Image by author.
A group of enzymes (shown in purple) leads to the production of mRNA which then leads to the final transcription factor molecule. (TF = transcription fator). Image by author.
All four transcription factors work together to reprogram a cell; it’s collaboration on a microscopic scale. Note: Sox2, Myc and Klf4 all undergo the mRNA step as well. It’s been omitted here for simplicity. Image by author.

The Microscopic Dilemma

Enter Partial Reprogramming

A cell’s reprogramming journey. Adapted from Nagy & Nagy. Image by author.

Partial Reprogramming & Aging

The continuous vs. cyclical doxycycline groups. Image by author.

Reprogramming & the Heart

Regeneration of fetal vs. adult cardiomyocytes. Image by author.
A representation of the difference in scar size between the control and treatment groups (not to scale). Heart image adapted from Freepik. Image by author.

Do We Need All the Factors?

Part III: The Future — Obstacles & Hopes

Some of the upcoming obstacles for the partial reprogramming field. Image by author.



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Parmin Sedigh

Science communicator trying to learn something new everyday | Published in Start It Up, Predict & The Writing Cooperative