1. De l’île de Pâques à la quête de la jeunesse éternelle

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Cette 1ère chronique biologique vous conduira d’une bactérie trouvée dans le sol de l’île de Pâques à la découverte d’une molécule capable de prolonger la vie des animaux.

Auteur : Yves Muller – Professeur Agrégé de classe exceptionnelle - Docteur en Neurosciences - Université de Montpellier

1. Biological Chronicles - From Easter Island to search of eternal youth

It’s 1964, and a group of Canadian scientists had sailed across the Pacific to Easter Island in order to study the health of the isolated local population. Working below the gaze of the island’s famous statues, they collected a variety of soil samples and other biological material, unaware that one of these would yield an unexpected treasure. It contained a bacterium that secreted a new antibiotic, one that proved to be a potent anti-fungal chemical. The compound was named rapamycin after the traditional name of its island source – Rapa Nui. Rapamycin has made a stunning journey from the soil of a Pacific island to the besides of the world’s hospitals. Its ability to suppress the immune system means that it’s given to transplant patients to stop them from rejecting their organs and its ability to stop cells from dividing has formed the basis of potential anti-cancer drugs. But the chemical has an even more interesting ability and one that has only just been discovered – it can extend lifespan, for example in mice.

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