A study done by scientist at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) revealed that resveratrol, a red-wine component activates a stress response in human cells. Resveratrol is a compound produced in grapes, Japanese knotweed, cacao beans and other plants, that responds to stresses, infection, drought and ultraviolet radiation. Researchers have reported that it extends lifespan, prevents diabetes, and vastly increased the stamina of ordinary mice running on wheels.
An earlier study had begun to find hints that a tRNA synthetase called TyrRS, which links the amino acid tyrosine to the genetic material that codes for it, can move to the cell nucleus under stressful conditions– apparently taking on a protective, stress-response role. Sajish noted that resveratrol appeared to have broadly similar stress-response properties and also resembled TyrRS’s normal binding partner tyrosine.
The new study put TyrRS and resveratrol together and showed with tests including X-ray crystallography, that resveratrol does indeed mimic tyrosine, well enough to fit tightly into TyrRS’s tyrosine binding pocket. That binding to resveratrol, the team found, takes TyrRS away from its protein translation role and steers it to a function in the cell nucleus.
Tracking the resveratrol-bound TyrRS in the nucleus, the researchers determined that it grabs and activates the protein, PARP-1, a major stress response and DNA-repair factor thought to have a significance influence on lifespan. The scientists confirmed the interaction in mice injected with resveratrol. TyrRS’s activation of PARP-1 led, in turn, to the activation of a host of protective genes including the tumor-suppressor gene p53 and the longevity genes FOXO3A and SIRT6.