The long-term goal of the proposed studies is to understand the mechanisms that determine longevity. Animal species differ enormously in their aging rates. Therefore, a comparative approach is a powerful tool to obtain new insights into the mechanisms of aging. Accumulation of somatic mutations and genomic rearrangements is believed to be a contributing cause of aging. Data collected from mouse studies suggest that DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is an essential longevity assurance mechanism. Considering recent advances in understanding DNA DSB repair [and DSB response mechanisms], we believe that it is timely to undertake an interspecies comparative study of DNA DSB repair [and DSB response]. In this application we propose to test the hypothesis that genome maintenance mechanisms co evolve with lifespan, using a panel of rodent species. Rodents are an ideal species for this study as it includes phylogenetically related species with diverse lifespans, in which slow aging has evolved independently several times. Our laboratory has assembled a collection of primary cells and tissues from 17 rodent species, and performed preliminary analysis of telomerase activity, cell growth characteristics, and genome stability in these cells. Our preliminary data suggest that long-lived species have higher genome stability and more efficient DSB repair. In this application, we will employ the collection of primary rodent cells and tissues to: (1) Test the hypothesis that genome stability coevolves with long lifespan. We will examine aneuploidy rate by flow cytometry and analyze specific chromosomal aberrations by karyotyping. (2) Test the hypothesis that the efficiency and fidelity of DSB repair co evolve with lifespan. We have recently developed sensitive fluorescent assays for analysis of the efficiency and fidelity of the two pathways of DSB repair, homologous recombination (HR) and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). These assays will enable quantitative analysis of DSB repair in multiple species. (3) Test the hypothesis that specific DSB responses such as apoptosis and senescence co evolve with lifespan. We will measure cell survival, induction of DSB repair foci, apoptosis, necrosis, and senescence following y-irradiation. We will also analyze the rate DSB repair by comet assays. The data will be corrected for phylogenetic nonindependence, and controlled for confounding variables such as body size. Our laboratory is uniquely equipped to carry out the proposed research. We assembled a carefully constructed collection of phylogenetically related species with diverse lifespans, and developed novel quantitative assays for the analysis of HR and NHEJ, and sensitive assays for analysis of apoptosis and necrosis. The proposed study will determine whether such genome maintenance mechanisms as induction of apoptosis, senescence, or the efficiency and fidelity of DSB repair co evolve with lifespan. It will also identify molecular mechanisms responsible for the differences in genome maintenance between short- and long-lived rodents.

Public Health Relevance

The mechanisms responsible for the vast differences in lifespan between animal species are unknown. The proposed project seeks to examine whether genome maintenance mechanisms contribute to interspecies differences in longevity using a collection of short- and long-lived rodent species. The information obtained in this study will help to develop strategies to prevent cancer and extend lifespan in humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cellular Mechanisms in Aging and Development Study Section (CMAD)
Program Officer
Guo, Max
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Rochester
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Seluanov, Andrei; Gladyshev, Vadim N; Vijg, Jan et al. (2018) Mechanisms of cancer resistance in long-lived mammals. Nat Rev Cancer 18:433-441
Tan, Li; Ke, Zhonghe; Tombline, Gregory et al. (2017) Naked Mole Rat Cells Have a Stable Epigenome that Resists iPSC Reprogramming. Stem Cell Reports 9:1721-1734
Bozek, Katarzyna; Khrameeva, Ekaterina E; Reznick, Jane et al. (2017) Lipidome determinants of maximal lifespan in mammals. Sci Rep 7:5
Tian, Xiao; Seluanov, Andrei; Gorbunova, Vera (2017) Molecular Mechanisms Determining Lifespan in Short- and Long-Lived Species. Trends Endocrinol Metab 28:722-734
MacRae, Sheila L; Zhang, Quanwei; Lemetre, Christophe et al. (2015) Comparative analysis of genome maintenance genes in naked mole rat, mouse, and human. Aging Cell 14:288-91
Van Meter, Michael; Kashyap, Mehr; Rezazadeh, Sarallah et al. (2014) SIRT6 represses LINE1 retrotransposons by ribosylating KAP1 but this repression fails with stress and age. Nat Commun 5:5011
Vaidya, Amita; Mao, Zhiyong; Tian, Xiao et al. (2014) Knock-in reporter mice demonstrate that DNA repair by non-homologous end joining declines with age. PLoS Genet 10:e1004511
Yang, Jiang-Nan; Seluanov, Andrei; Gorbunova, Vera (2013) Mitochondrial inverted repeats strongly correlate with lifespan: mtDNA inversions and aging. PLoS One 8:e73318
Tian, Xiao; Azpurua, Jorge; Hine, Christopher et al. (2013) High-molecular-mass hyaluronan mediates the cancer resistance of the naked mole rat. Nature 499:346-9
Hine, Christopher M; Seluanov, Andrei; Gorbunova, Vera (2012) Rad51 promoter-targeted gene therapy is effective for in vivo visualization and treatment of cancer. Mol Ther 20:347-55

Showing the most recent 10 out of 13 publications