A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION INTO THE EXTENDED LIFESPAN OF BAT SPECIES: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX PROTEIN HAS2 AND LONGEVITY
Denham, Aimee N.
MetadataShow full item record
Investigation into physiological and molecular factors influencing the extended lifespan of long-lived species significantly contributes to clinical research aimed at improving the lives of humans. Bats have a significantly longer lifespan than other mammals of similar size and have not been recorded to develop cancer. The longevity and anti-cancer properties displayed by bats are features shared by another well-studied mammal, the naked mole rat. The naked mole rat is currently the longest living rodent with a maximum lifespan of over 30 years, and the species exhibits a novel anti-cancer mechanism involving the rapid production of hyaluronan. The naked mole rat has a unique sequence of hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) which rapidly produces high molecular mass hyaluronan and contributes to reduced activity of hyaluronan degrading enzymes. Known genomic sequences of several species of bats were analyzed to determine differences in amino acid sequence for the HAS2 gene. Furthermore, RNA extracted from captured bats was subjected to real-time polymerase chain reaction to measure the expression level of HAS2 in various tissues. Genomic sequence analysis revealed that the bat species examined did not have the same amino acid substitutions in HAS2 as the naked mole rat. Real-time PCR trials using multiple primers designed to be specific for the HAS2 region resulted in inconclusive data. Therefore, gene expression analysis conclusions cannot be made until successful HAS2 primers are generated to amplify the HAS2 region. Further research needs to be directed towards determining alternative methods to study the longevity and anti-cancer mechanisms bats possess.