The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging

Aubrey de Grey ag24 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Mon Nov 8 08:35:22 EST 1999


Magnus Lynch wrote:

> Aubrey, are mitochondrial proteins expressed on MHC I? If so it would
> conceivably be possible to immunize against common mutant versions of
> mitochondrial proteins thus utilizing the immune system to selectively
> remove these cells. I haven't seen your book so maybe this is one of the
> possible methods which you discuss.

Nice idea, but only applicable to mutations which cause the synthesis
of mutant versions of mitochondrial proteins, and not to mutations which
cause a failure to synthesise any protein at all.  The latter turn out
to be more common, because (a) the mitochondrial tRNA genes are hotspots
for point mutations, and (b) point mutations are anyway probably less
common than large deletions which completely remove one or more tRNA
genes.  The tRNA genes in the mtDNA are all essential (no duplicates),
so such mutations cause non-synthesis of any of the 13 proteins.

Aubrey de Grey





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