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      Guarana ( Paullinia cupana) Extract Protects Caenorhabditis elegans Models for Alzheimer Disease and Huntington Disease through Activation of Antioxidant and Protein Degradation Pathways

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          Guarana ( Paullinia cupana) is largely consumed in Brazil in high energy drinks and dietary supplements because of its stimulant activity on the central nervous system. Although previous studies have indicated that guarana has some protective effects in Parkinson's (PD), Alzheimer's (AD), and Huntington's (HD) disease models, the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here, we investigated the protective effects of guarana hydroalcoholic extract (GHE) in Caenorhabditis elegans models of HD and AD. GHE reduced polyglutamine (polyQ) protein aggregation in the muscle and also reduced polyQ-mediated neuronal death in ASH sensory neurons and delayed β-amyloid-induced paralysis in a caffeine-independent manner. Moreover, GHE's protective effects were not mediated by caloric restriction, antimicrobial effects, or development and reproduction impairment. Inactivation of the transcription factors SKN-1 and DAF-16 by RNAi partially blocked the protective effects of GHE treatment in the AD model. We show that the protective effect of GHE is associated with antioxidant activity and modulation of proteostasis, since it increased the lifespan and proteasome activity, reduced intracellular ROS and the accumulation of autophagosomes, and increased the expression of SOD-3 and HSP-16.2. Our findings suggest that GHE has therapeutic potential in combating age-related diseases associated with protein misfolding and accumulation.

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          The threshold for polyglutamine-expansion protein aggregation and cellular toxicity is dynamic and influenced by aging in Caenorhabditis elegans.

          Studies of the mutant gene in Huntington's disease, and for eight related neurodegenerative disorders, have identified polyglutamine (polyQ) expansions as a basis for cellular toxicity. This finding has led to a disease hypothesis that protein aggregation and cellular dysfunction can occur at a threshold of approximately 40 glutamine residues. Here, we test this hypothesis by expression of fluorescently tagged polyQ proteins (Q29, Q33, Q35, Q40, and Q44) in the body wall muscle cells of Caenorhabditis elegans and show that young adults exhibit a sharp boundary at 35-40 glutamines associated with the appearance of protein aggregates and loss of motility. Surprisingly, genetically identical animals expressing near-threshold polyQ repeats exhibited a high degree of variation in the appearance of protein aggregates and cellular toxicity that was dependent on repeat length and exacerbated during aging. The role of genetically determined aging pathways in the progression of age-dependent polyQ-mediated aggregation and cellular toxicity was tested by expressing Q82 in the background of age-1 mutant animals that exhibit an extended lifespan. We observed a dramatic delay of polyQ toxicity and appearance of protein aggregates. These data provide experimental support for the threshold hypothesis of polyQ-mediated toxicity in an experimental organism and emphasize the importance of the threshold as a point at which genetic modifiers and aging influence biochemical environment and protein homeostasis in the cell.
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            Genome-wide RNA interference screen identifies previously undescribed regulators of polyglutamine aggregation.

            Protein misfolding and the formation of aggregates are increasingly recognized components of the pathology of human genetic disease and hallmarks of many neurodegenerative disorders. As exemplified by polyglutamine diseases, the propensity for protein misfolding is associated with the length of polyglutamine expansions and age-dependent changes in protein-folding homeostasis, suggesting a critical role for a protein homeostatic buffer. To identify the complement of protein factors that protects cells against the formation of protein aggregates, we tested transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans strains expressing polyglutamine expansion yellow fluorescent protein fusion proteins at the threshold length associated with the age-dependent appearance of protein aggregation. We used genome-wide RNA interference to identify genes that, when suppressed, resulted in the premature appearance of protein aggregates. Our screen identified 186 genes corresponding to five principal classes of polyglutamine regulators: genes involved in RNA metabolism, protein synthesis, protein folding, and protein degradation; and those involved in protein trafficking. We propose that each of these classes represents a molecular machine collectively comprising the protein homeostatic buffer that responds to the expression of damaged proteins to prevent their misfolding and aggregation.
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              Blueberry polyphenols increase lifespan and thermotolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans

              Summary The beneficial effects of polyphenol compounds in fruits and vegetables are mainly extrapolated from in vitro studies or short-term dietary supplementation studies. Due to cost and duration, relatively little is known about whether dietary polyphenols are beneficial in whole animals, particularly with respect to aging. To address this question, we examined the effects of blueberry polyphenols on lifespan and aging of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, a useful organism for such a study. We report that a complex mixture of blue-berry polyphenols increased lifespan and slowed aging-related declines in C. elegans. We also found that these benefits did not just reflect antioxidant activity in these compounds. For instance, blueberry treatment increased survival during acute heat stress, but was not protective against acute oxidative stress. The blueberry extract consists of three major fractions that all contain antioxidant activity. However, only one fraction, enriched in proanthocyanidin compounds, increased C. elegans lifespan and thermotolerance. To further determine how polyphenols prolonged C. elegans lifespan, we analyzed the genetic requirements for these effects. Prolonged lifespan from this treatment required the presence of a CaMKII pathway that mediates osmotic stress resistance, though not other pathways that affect stress resistance and longevity. In conclusion, polyphenolic compounds in blueberries had robust and reproducible benefits during aging that were separable from antioxidant effects.

                Author and article information

                Oxid Med Cell Longev
                Oxid Med Cell Longev
                Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
                4 July 2018
                : 2018
                1Núcleo de Pesquisa em Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
                2Departamento de Biologia Celular e Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil
                3Laboratório de Bioprospecção e Biotecnologia, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, AM, Brazil
                4Departamento de Biodiversidade, Evolução e Meio Ambiente, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Luciana Mosca

                Copyright © 2018 Patrícia Ferreira Boasquívis et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais
                Funded by: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico
                Funded by: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior
                Funded by: National Center for Research Resources
                Research Article

                Molecular medicine


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