“Sonic hedgehog requires interactions with proteoglycans to achieve cell proliferation, but not tissue patterning”

What the heck does this mean?  It means an additional jigsaw-puzzle piece of knowledge relevant to the 14th theory of aging in my Anti-Aging Firewalls treatise, which is Decline in Adult Stem Cell Differentiation.  In this instance Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is not a video game character but is a protein in the hedgehog family named after that videogame character. Shh plays an important role in the division of stem cells and in the formation of organs.  Cell proliferation during development and tissue patterning are in part controlled by the hedgehog pathway and Shh is implicated in the organization of human tissues including the brain.  Proteoglycans are heavily glycosylated glycopoteins which, roughly put, are a class of proteins that have a lot of sugar side chains.  Chondroitin sulphate is a proteoglycan which is an important structural component of cartilage and is also a dietary supplement commonly used to ward off osteoarthritis.  The quoted headline for this posting is from a recent report on research that indicates that Shh contains a proteoglycan-binding domain and that during neural development Shh-proteoglycan interactions regulate tissue growth. If Shh is to induce cell proliferation there apparently must be proteoglycan interactions involved.  However, without additional provisions for proper tissue patterning the proliferation may be without proper cell differentiation, a characteristic of oncogenesis.  What does this mean for longevity?  We don’t exactly know yet. That will depend on how this piece of the jigsaw puzzle fits in with a lot of other pieces to define a pattern that leads eventually to some kind of effective anti-aging intervention. 

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at www.vincegiuliano.com and an extensive site of my art at www.giulianoart.com. Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to vegiuliano@agingsciences.com.
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