The longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat (Bathyergidae; Heterocephalus glaber), maintains robust health for at least 75% of its 32 year lifespan, suggesting that the decline in genomic integrity or protein homeostasis routinely observed during aging, is either attenuated or delayed in this extraordinarily long-lived species. The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) plays an integral role in protein homeostasis by degrading oxidatively-damaged and misfolded proteins. In this study, we examined proteasome activity in naked mole-rats and mice in whole liver lysates as well as three subcellular fractions to probe the mechanisms behind the apparently enhanced effectiveness of UPS. We found that when compared with mouse samples, naked mole-rats had significantly higher chymotrypsin-like (ChT-L) activity and a two-fold increase in trypsin-like (T-L) in both whole lysates as well as cytosolic fractions. Native gel electrophoresis of the whole tissue lysates showed that the 20S proteasome was more active in the longer-lived species and that 26S proteasome was both more active and more populous. Western blot analyses revealed that both 19S subunits and immunoproteasome catalytic subunits are present in greater amounts in the naked mole-rat suggesting that the observed higher specific activity may be due to the greater proportion of immunoproteasomes in livers of healthy young adults. It thus appears that proteasomes in this species are primed for the efficient removal of stress-damaged proteins. Further characterization of the naked mole-rat proteasome and its regulation could lead to important insights on how the cells in these animals handle increased stress and protein damage to maintain a longer health in their tissues and ultimately a longer life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)