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The KLOTHO Gene: Unveiling the Sweet Mysteries with Glycans and Beta-Glucosidases

In the world of scientific discoveries, there are intriguing instances where genes are named after mythical characters. One such example is the KLOTHO gene, which takes its name from CLOTHO, a mythological figure responsible for spinning the thread of life. But did you know that there's a fascinating link between the etymology of the name CLOTHO and sugars? In this blog post, we'll explore the connection between the KLOTHO gene, glycans (sugar chains), and their impact on the gene's function in relation to beta-glucosidases. Get ready to embark on a captivating journey into the world of science and mythology.

The KLOTHO Gene and Its Mystical Origin

The KLOTHO gene, named after the Greek fate CLOTHO, was first discovered in 1997. The gene encodes a protein called α-Klotho, which is primarily expressed in organs involved in aging and mineral metabolism, such as the kidneys and brain. But what's the origin of the name CLOTHO? Its etymology interestingly traces back to the Greek word "klōthos," meaning "spindle" or "thread," and also to "klōthēr," meaning "spinner."

The Klotho gene was named after the one of the three Fates, from Latin Clotho, from Greek Klō thō , literally " ," from klō thein "to spin," from “κάλαθος”. Explained by Rosół as from Egyptian krh ̣t “a basket for fruits ”. Klotho is the “spinner of sugar-chains ”. In the realm of anti-aging research, few discoveries have sparked as much excitement and promise as the Sugar Basket of Klotho.

The Sweet Connection - Glycans and the "Sugar Basket"

Delving into the intriguing etymology of "klōthos," we discover an unexpected association with sugars. The word "klōthēr," from which "klōthos" is derived, signifies "sugar basket" or "sugar bowl." This intriguing connection leads us to the captivating realm of glycans, also known as sugar chains.

Glycans and Their Impact on KLOTHO

Glycans are complex sugar chains that decorate the surface of cells and proteins. These intricate sugar structures influence various biological processes, including immunity and cell signaling. In the field of glycoimmunology, researchers have explored the impact of glycans on the function of proteins, including the KLOTHO gene.

Studies have revealed that glycans can modulate the expression and activity of KLOTHO. In particular, interaction between glycans and KLOTHO can influence the protein's stability, folding, and signaling capabilities. The specific glycans involved in these interactions, as well as the exact mechanisms by which they affect KLOTHO, are areas of ongoing research.

Unveiling the Role of Beta-Glucosidases

One fascinating aspect of the relationship between glycans and KLOTHO lies in the involvement of enzymes called beta-glucosidases. These enzymes play a crucial role in the breakdown of glycosidic bonds found in glycans. By breaking down specific glycosidic linkages, beta-glucosidases can modify the structures of glycans and impact their interactions with KLOTHO.

The interplay between beta-glucosidases, glycans, and KLOTHO adds another layer of complexity to our understanding of KLOTHO's function. Increased comprehension of this intricate relationship could have implications for various fields of research, including aging, mineral metabolism, and age-related diseases.

Final Thoughts

The KLOTHO gene, named after the mythological figure CLOTHO, weaves a fascinating tapestry connecting the realms of science, mythology, and sugars. The etymology of CLOTHO, meaning "sugar basket," unexpectedly aligns with the intricate world of glycans and their impact on gene function.

Through glycoimmunology, researchers are unpacking how glycans, along with beta-glucosidases, influence the stability, folding, and signaling capabilities of KLOTHO. Treading the path of scientific discovery, we inch closer to unraveling the secrets behind age-related diseases and mineral metabolism, hinting at promising avenues for future research.

So, the next time you hear the name KLOTHO, remember the mythical origins and the sweet mysteries that lie within the realm of sugars chains and protein interaction. Download Reversing the Clock: The Anti-Aging Power of the Sugar Basket of Klotho


  • Kurosu, H., & Kuro-o, M. (2013). The KLOTHO gene family as a regulator of endocrine fibroblast growth factors. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 364(1-2), 67-71.

  • Duce, J. A., Podvin, S., Hollander, W., Kipling, D., Rosene, D. L., & Abraham, C. R. (2008). Gene profile analysis implicates Klotho as an important contributor to aging changes in brain white matter of the rhesus monkey. Glia, 56(10), 1061-1074.

  • Xu, Y., Sun, Z., "Molecular basis of Klotho: from gene to function in aging and diseases." The FASEB Journal, 2015, vol. 29 no. 7, 2165-2178.

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