- This event has passed.
EEB Spring Seminar Series – Postdoc Presentations
March 25 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Arbovirus emergence in the US: a case study on Zika virus
Presenter: Nicole Foley, Ph.D., Dept of Genetics, Murphy Lab
Understanding aging is a grand challenge in biology. Exceptionally long-lived animals possess mechanisms that underpin extreme longevity. Telomeres are protective nucleotide repeats on chromosome tips that shorten with cell division, potentially limiting lifespan. Bats are the longest-lived mammals for their size, but it is unknown if their telomeres shorten. Using >60 years of cumulative mark-recapture field data, we show that telomeres shorten with age in Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and Miniopterus schreibersii, but not in the bat-genus with greatest longevity-Myotis. As in humans, telomerase is not expressed in M. myotis blood or fibroblasts. Selection tests on telomere maintenance genes show that ATM and SETX, which repair and prevent DNA damage, potentially mediate telomere dynamics in Myotis bats. 21 telomere maintenance genes are differentially expressed in Myotis, of which 14 are enriched for DNA repair, and 5 for alternative telomere lengthening mechanisms. Here we demonstrate how telomeres, telomerase and DNA repair genes have contributed to the evolution of exceptional longevity in Myotis bats, advancing our understanding healthy aging.