RNA sequencing reveals differential expression of mitochondrial and oxidation reduction genes in the long-lived naked mole-rat when compared to mice

Chuanfei Yu, Yang Li, Andrew Holmes, Karol Szafranski, Chris G. Faulkes, Clive W. Coen, Rochelle Buffenstein, Matthias Platzer, João Pedro de Magalhães, George M. Church

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a long-lived, cancer resistant rodent and there is a great interest in identifying the adaptations responsible for these and other of its unique traits. We employed RNA sequencing to compare liver gene expression profiles between naked mole-rats and wild-derived mice. Our results indicate that genes associated with oxidoreduction and mitochondria were expressed at higher relative levels in naked mole-rats. The largest effect is nearly 300-fold higher expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Epcam), a tumour-associated protein. Also of interest are the protease inhibitor, alpha2-macroglobulin (A2m), and the mitochondrial complex II subunit Sdhc, both ageing-related genes found strongly over-expressed in the naked mole-rat. These results hint at possible candidates for specifying species differences in ageing and cancer, and in particular suggest complex alterations in mitochondrial and oxidation reduction pathways in the naked mole-rat. Our differential gene expression analysis obviated the need for a reference naked mole-rat genome by employing a combination of Illumina/Solexa and 454 platforms for transcriptome sequencing and assembling transcriptome contigs of the non-sequenced species. Overall, our work provides new research foci and methods for studying the naked mole-rat's fascinating characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere26729
JournalPloS one
Volume6
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 3 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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