Many age-associated changes in the human hematopoietic system have been reproduced in murine models; however, such changes have not been as robustly explored in rats despite the fact these larger rodents are more physiologically similar to humans. We examined peripheral blood of male F344 rats ranging from three to twenty-seven months of age and found significant age-associated changes with distinct leukocyte population shifts. We report CD25+ CD4+ population frequency is a strong predictor of healthy aging, generate a model using blood parameters, and find rats with blood profiles that diverge from chronologic age indicate debility; thus, assessments of blood composition may be useful for non-lethal disease profiling or as a surrogate measure for efficacy of aging interventions. Importantly, blood parameters and DNA methylation alterations, defined distinct juncture points during aging, supporting a non-linear aging process. Our results suggest these inflection points are important considerations for aging interventions. Overall, we present rat blood aging metrics that can serve as a resource to evaluate health and the effects of interventions in a model system physiologically more reflective of humans.
The data that support the findings of this study are available in the Supplementary Material and Supplementary Tables of this article. The DNA methylation raw data is available via GEO Accession (GSE161141). FCS files have been uploaded to FlowRepository (FR-FCM-Z59K)
Rat Cross Sectional Aging PBFR-FCM-Z59K.
A rat epigenetic clock recapitulates phenotypic aging and co-localizes with heterochromatin-associated histone modificationsNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE161141.
- Isabel Beerman
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were conducted in accordance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and approved by the NIA Animal Care and Use Committee (ASP 467-CMS-2018 and 469-TGB-2022)
- Bérénice A Benayoun, University of Southern California, United States
- Received: January 5, 2022
- Accepted: May 3, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: May 4, 2022 (version 1)
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Many animals rely on complex signals that target multiple senses to attract mates and repel rivals. These multimodal displays can however also attract unintended receivers, which can be an important driver of signal complexity. Despite being taxonomically widespread, we often lack insight into how multimodal signals evolve from unimodal signals and in particular what roles unintended eavesdroppers play. Here, we assess whether the physical movements of parasite defense behavior increase the complexity and attractiveness of an acoustic sexual signal in the little torrent frog (Amolops torrentis). Calling males of this species often display limb movements in order to defend against blood-sucking parasites such as frog-biting midges that eavesdrop on their acoustic signal. Through mate choice tests we show that some of these midge-evoked movements influence female preference for acoustic signals. Our data suggest that midge-induced movements may be incorporated into a sexual display, targeting both hearing and vision in the intended receiver. Females may play an important role in incorporating these multiple components because they prefer signals which combine multiple modalities. Our results thus help to understand the relationship between natural and sexual selection pressure operating on signalers and how in turn this may influence multimodal signal evolution.
Studies of protein fitness landscapes reveal biophysical constraints guiding protein evolution and empower prediction of functional proteins. However, generalisation of these findings is limited due to scarceness of systematic data on fitness landscapes of proteins with a defined evolutionary relationship. We characterized the fitness peaks of four orthologous fluorescent proteins with a broad range of sequence divergence. While two of the four studied fitness peaks were sharp, the other two were considerably flatter, being almost entirely free of epistatic interactions. Mutationally robust proteins, characterized by a flat fitness peak, were not optimal templates for machine-learning-driven protein design – instead, predictions were more accurate for fragile proteins with epistatic landscapes. Our work paves insights for practical application of fitness landscape heterogeneity in protein engineering.