Up Close: Investigating an Anti-Aging Gene Inside the Nose

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This image, captured by Eric Williams, explores whether the lifespan-extending gene Sirt1 can affect the decisions made by stem cells inside the nose.

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Eric Williams
Guarente Laboratory
MIT Department of Biology and Koch Institute

"You are looking at olfactory neurons in the nose of a mouse. I am trying to determine if Sirtuin1 is involved in pluripotency or differentiation. The cells with red fluorescent protein are wild type and the cells with green fluorescent protein do not contain the Sirtuin1 gene. With the help of the Koch Institute Transgenic Core facility, I injected 8 red (wild type) and 8 (green) embryonic stem cells into a single blastocyst. The blastocyst was then transplanted into a recipient mother and allowed to develop to birth. The idea was to see if cells lacking Sirtuin1 would develop into all the tissue types. The red cells are my control. In this picture you can see that more green cells are found in the neuronal layer with much fewer red cells populating this area. This indicates that Sirtuin1 activity inhibits neuronal development in the olfactory system."