NAD: A Renaissance Molecule and its Role in Cell Health

Promega NAD/NADH-Glo system and how to prepare samples for  identification of NAD or NADH.
Promega NAD/NADH-Glo system and how to prepare samples for identification of NAD or NADH.

NAD is a pyridine nucleotide. It provides the oxidation and reduction power for generation of ATP by mitochondria. For many years it was believed that the primary function of NAD/NADH in cells was to harness and transfer energy  from glucose, fatty and amino acids through pathways like glycolysis, beta-oxidation and the citric acid cycle.

Today, however, NAD is recognized as an important cell signaling molecule and substrate. The many regulatory pathways now known to use NAD+ in signaling include multiple aspects of cellular homeostasis, energy metabolism, lifespan regulation, apoptosis, DNA repair and telomere maintenance.

This resurrection of NAD importance is due in no small part to the discovery of NAD-using enzymes, especially the sirtuins. Continue reading “NAD: A Renaissance Molecule and its Role in Cell Health”

Calorie Restriction: The Fountain of Youth

Stories abound about the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who back in the 15th century searched in vain for the Fountain of Youth in what is now Florida (with some historians stating that he was actually looking for a solution to his own sexual impotence). In recent times, the magician David Copperfield has stated that he owns the Fountain of Youth, which is located on his Bahamas property. Copperfield claims that his Fountain of Youth actually brings animals that are close to death back to life. Stories about fountains, trees, and fruit with properties of everlasting youth have been in existence since the Babylonians composed the Epic of Gilgamesh. In modern times, scientists have purported that there is another source of youth and prolonged life: calorie restriction. Continue reading “Calorie Restriction: The Fountain of Youth”

Indy (I’m not dead yet)

DrosophilaI take my hat off to the original inventors of Drosophila gene nomenclature. They managed to create names that are clear descriptions of the genes effect, are easy to remember, and express something of the humanity of the scientists behind the discovery. Once you’ve heard it, you can’t forget that Cleo (Cleopatra) is only lethal in the presence of Asp, or that in tinman, the embryo has no heart. I really appreciate the ease-of-use of FlyBase and the incidental entertainment value of many of the Drosophila gene names.

Continue reading “Indy (I’m not dead yet)”