Investigation of anti-cancer mechanisms by comparative analysis of naked mole rat and ratReport as inadecuate

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BMC Systems Biology

, 7:S5

First Online: 14 October 2013


BackgroundThe naked mole rats NMRs are small-sized underground rodents with plenty of unusual traits. Their life expectancy can be up to thirty years, more than seven times longer than laboratory rat. Furthermore, they are resistant to both congenital and experimentally induced cancer genesis. These peculiar physiological and pathological characteristics allow them to become a suitable model for cancer and aging research.

ResultsIn this paper, we carried out a genome-wide comparative analysis of rat and NMR using the recently published genome sequence of NMR. First, we identified all the rat-NMR orthologous genes and specific genes within each of them. The expanded and contracted numbers of protein families in NMR were also analyzed when compared to rat. Seven cancer-related protein families appeared to be significantly expanded, whereas several receptor families were found to be contracted in NMR. We then chose those rat genes that were inexistent in NMR and adopted KEGG pathway database to investigate the metabolic processes in which their proteins may be involved. These genes were significantly enriched in two rat cancer pathways -Pathway in cancer- and -Bladder cancer-. In the rat -Pathway in cancer-, 9 out of 14 paths leading to evading apoptosis appeared to be affected in NMR. In addition, a significant number of other NMR-missing genes enriched in several cancer-related pathways have been known to be related to a variety of cancers, implying that many of them may be also related to tumorigenesis in mammals. Finally, investigation of sequence variations among orthologous proteins between rat and NMR revealed that significant fragment insertions-deletions within important functional domains were present in some NMR proteins, which might lead to expressional and-or functional changes of these genes in different species.

ConclusionsOverall, this study provides insights into understanding the possible anti-cancer mechanisms of NMR as well as searching for new cancer-related candidate genes.

List of abbreviationsNMRnaked mole rat

KEGGKyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes

NCBINational Center for Biotechnology Information

GXAGene Expression Atlas

CDDConserved Domain Database

OMIMOnline Mendelian Inheritance in Man

PKCprotein kinase C

HSPheat shock proteins

TERTtelomerase reverse transcriptase

GPx1glutathione peroxidase 1

VORvomeronasal organ receptor

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-0509-7-S2-S5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Zhiyuan Yang - Yan Zhang - Luonan Chen


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