The Longevity of Bats

Here's a paper on the biochemistry of comparatively long-lived bats and their resistance to oxidative damage. "Altered structure, and hence function, of cellular macromolecules caused by oxidation can contribute to loss of physiological function with age. Here, we tested whether the lifespan of bats, which generally live far longer than predicted by their size, could be explained by reduced protein damage relative to short-lived mice. We show significantly lower protein oxidation [in] Mexican free-tailed bats [relative] to mice, and a trend for lower oxidation in samples from cave myotis bats ... Both species of bat show in vivo and in vitro resistance to protein oxidation under conditions of acute oxidative stress. These bat species also show low levels of protein ubiquitination in total protein lysates along with reduced proteasome activity, suggesting diminished protein damage and removal [of damaged proteins] in bats. ... Together, these data suggest that long lifespan in some bat species might be regulated by very efficient maintenance of protein homeostasis." This sounds similar to current thinking on the naked mole rat - lots of oxidative stress, but little resulting protein damage, perhaps due to a different, more resistant structure of cell membranes.


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