Scientists identify new fuel-delivery route for cells
Findings shed light on chronic diseases, aging
A key element of any cell’s fuel supply chain is a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Past work has shown that NAD levels in tissues throughout the body decrease with age. One way cells manufacture NAD begins with a precursor molecule called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which is found naturally in foods such as edamame, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber and avocado. But how NMN gets into cells to be processed into NAD has long been a mystery.
In a new study, scientists led by Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, a professor of developmental biology, have identified a protein responsible for transporting NMN directly into cells, where it can be used for cellular fuel production. Not only does this protein move NMN into cells, it does so rapidly.
The study is published Jan. 7 in the inaugural issue of the journal Nature Metabolism. <more>