From the bush to the bench: the genome of a short-lived african fish reveals novel aspects of the genetic control of vertebrate

March 4th 2016
Versione stampabile

Venue: Edificio Povo 2, via Sommarive nr. 9, Povo (Tn) - Room B101
 At 2:00 p.m.

  • Alessandro Cellerino -  Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy

African annual fishes from the genus Nothobranchius are small teleosts that inhabit temporary water bodies subject to annual desiccation due to the alternation of the monsoon seasons and their natural lifespan is of a few months. Nothobranchius furzeri is the vertebrate species with the shortest lifespan recorded in captivity. In the laboratory, adults of different Nothobranchius species and populations live between 3 and  7 months. Its short lifespan is coupled to rapid age-dependent functional decline and expression of cellular and molecular changes comparable to those observed in other vertebrates, including humans. We report a high-quality draft of its genome and extensive studies of RNA-seq that analyzed genome-wide transcript regulation during aging of this species. The analysis of these data provided novel insights in the genetics of vertebrate aging: (i) we revealed that aging-related genes tend to cluster in specific genomic regions, (ii) we identified genes under positive selection as a response to fast aging, under those TGF-Beta signalling and apoptosis, (iii) we discovered significant similarities of gene expression profiles between diapause and aging (iv) we performed a longitudinal analysis of gene expression and identified genes whose expression in young age predicts longevity, among these genes coding for complex I of the respiratory chain (v) we demonstrated that partial pharamacological inhinibition of complex I induces life-extension and rejuvenation of the transcriptome.