Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 6 pp 7998—8025
Evolution of mammalian longevity: age-related increase in autophagy in bats compared to other mammals
- 1 School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
- 2 Departments of Biology and Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA
- 3 Present Institutional Address: Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, Fondazione Centro San Raffaele, Via Olgettina, Milano 6020132, Italy
Received: October 16, 2020 Accepted: March 5, 2021 Published: March 21, 2021https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202852
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2021 Kacprzyk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Autophagy maintains cellular homeostasis and its dysfunction has been implicated in aging. Bats are the longest-lived mammals for their size, but the molecular mechanisms underlying their extended healthspan are not well understood. Here, drawing on >8 years of mark-recapture field studies, we report the first longitudinal analysis of autophagy regulation in bats. Mining of published population level aging blood transcriptomes (M. myotis, mouse and human) highlighted a unique increase of autophagy related transcripts with age in bats, but not in other mammals. This bat-specific increase in autophagy transcripts was recapitulated by the western blot determination of the autophagy marker, LC3II/I ratio, in skin primary fibroblasts (Myotis myotis, Pipistrellus kuhlii, mouse), that also showed an increase with age in both bat species. Further phylogenomic selection pressure analyses across eutherian mammals (n=70 taxa; 274 genes) uncovered 10 autophagy-associated genes under selective pressure in bat lineages. These molecular adaptations potentially mediate the exceptional age-related increase of autophagy signalling in bats, which may contribute to their longer healthspans.