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How does E. coli stay so young-looking? Bacteria have fountain of youth

They say Ponce de Leon looked for the Fountain of Youth in Florida, but he might have saved himself some trouble by looking a bit closer to home. A study just released by mBio links an enzyme present in almost all organisms to the reduction of age-related products called Amadori-modified proteins (AMPs) and advanced glycated end products (AGEs).

The authors identified the enzyme, a glycopeptidase called Gcp, in Echerichia coli, where it binds to glycated proteins like AGEs, which are known to participate in many age-related human diseases, including cardiovascular, neurological, and liver diseases. In E. coli, Gcp apparently prevents these products from accumulating, but the authors point out that since Gcp is largely conserved in other species, it probably plays much the same role in aging across the kingdoms.

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