Scientists have sequenced the complete genome of the naked mole rat, a pivotal step to understanding the animal's extraordinarily long life and good health. A colony of more than 2,000 naked mole rats at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio contributed to the findings, published today in the journal Nature.
"If we understand which genes are different or are expressed differently in naked mole rats — compared to short-lived mice that clearly have poor defenses against aging and cancer — we might find clues as to why the naked mole rat is able to extend both health span and longevity, as well as fight cancer, and this information could be directly relevant and translatable to humans," said Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D., professor of physiology at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, part of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Dr. Buffenstein worked on the study with Thomas Park, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago; Vadim Gladyshev, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School; the Beijing Genomics Institute; and other collaborators.
The mouse-sized naked mole rat is the longest-lived rodent known, surviving up to 31 years in captivity. This is much longer than its laboratory rodent relatives, and the naked mole rat maintains good health and reproductive potential well into its third decade. Naked mole rats live underground in large family groups, like termites and bees, with only a single breeding female. These social rodents are extremely tolerant of life in low oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide.
The naked mole rat's capacity to resist cancer and maintain protein integrity in the face of oxidative damage makes it an ideal animal model for aging and biomedical research, Dr. Buffenstein said. "Deciphering the animal's genetic blueprint is an important step to unlocking the keys to the naked mole rat's extraordinary longevity," she said. "This study reveals many of the genetic secrets to their extraordinary longevity, cancer resistance and pain tolerance, and their ability to survive in a low-oxygen environment. Indeed, having this animal's genetic blueprint is a treasure trove for many areas of biology and medicine because the genome will now be available to scientists everywhere to explore in their favored research area."
Barshop Institute Director Arlan Richardson, Ph.D., said: "The data in this Nature paper are very important for aging research because they give us the first glimpse into how the naked mole rat lives 10 times longer than its distant cousins, the mouse and rat."
Naked mole rats resemble pink, saber-toothed "sausages." Previous studies have yielded important insights into how the naked mole rat is able to rewire its brain (a process called neural plasticity), tolerate low oxygen and low body temperatures, and show cancer-free good health well into old age.
"Understanding their genomic footprint may reveal how they are able to maintain the integrity of their proteins and DNA far better than other animals do in old age, as well as how they mitigate the translation of oxidative damage into age-related declines and disease," Dr. Buffenstein said.
For current news from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, please visit our news release website or follow us on Twitter @uthscsa.
About the UT Health Science Center San Antonio
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country's leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways "We make lives better®," visit www.uthscsa.edu.
Will Sansom | EurekAlert!
Elusive compounds of greenhouse gas isolated by Warwick chemists
18.09.2019 | University of Warwick
Study gives clues to the origin of Huntington's disease, and a new way to find drugs
18.09.2019 | Rockefeller University
Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.
The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.
At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.
Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...
Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....
Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.
This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.
Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.
If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...
10.09.2019 | Event News
04.09.2019 | Event News
29.08.2019 | Event News
18.09.2019 | Innovative Products
18.09.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.09.2019 | Materials Sciences