NEW YORK (Dispatches) -- Researchers recently found that Sestrin, a naturally occurring protein in the body, mimicked the benefits of exercise in flies and mice.
Michigan Medicine researchers studying a class of naturally occurring protein called Sestrin have found that it can mimic many of exercise’s effects in flies and mice. The findings could eventually help scientists combat muscle wasting due to aging and other causes.
"Researchers have previously observed that Sestrin accumulates in muscle following exercise,” said Myungjin Kim, Ph.D., a research assistant professor in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Kim, working with professor Jun Hee Lee, Ph.D. and a team of researchers wanted to know more about the protein’s apparent link to exercise. Their first step was to encourage a bunch of flies to work out.
Taking advantage of Drosophila flies’ normal instinct to climb up and out of a test tube, their collaborators Robert Wessells, Ph.D. and Alyson Sujkowski of Wayne State University in Detroit developed a type of fly treadmill. Using it, the team trained the flies for three weeks and compared the running and flying ability of normal flies with that of flies bred to lack the ability to make Sestrin.
When they over expressed Sestrin in the muscles of normal flies, essentially maxing out their Sestrin levels, they found those flies had abilities above and beyond the trained flies, even without exercise. In fact, flies with over expressed Sestrin didn’t develop more endurance when exercised.