September 19, 2022
Aging Research and an Immortal Jellyfish
When speaking with researchers focused on comparative genomics, we often hear that interpreting RNA-seq data is a major challenge. With robust bioinformatic pipelines like the ones we build for our clients at Bridge Informatics, analyzing RNA-seq data becomes an exciting prospect for bench biologists rather than a daunting task.
RNA-Seq for Comparative Genomics in Action: How is the T. dohrnii Jellyfish Effectively Immortal?
Understanding aging is a major research focus, and one group recently examined the molecular mechanisms of aging from a new angle: by examining the genome of a jellyfish that seemingly does not age, but rejuvenates itself indefinitely. In a recent PNAS paper covered by The New York Times, the authors used RNA-seq to compare the gene expression profiles of Turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish at different stages of adulthood and rejuvenation.
What they found was that genes associated with DNA replication and repair and transcription factors associated with pluripotency were not only upregulated during rejuvenation (also called life cycle reversal (LCR) but that the jellyfish also had extra copies of these genes compared to closely related species that lack the ability to rejuvenate.
So What Does this Mean for Aging Research?
The activation of these genes can effectively reverse aging: as organisms age, they accumulate DNA damage and lose the ability to replace certain types of highly specialized cells if they get damaged or die. Improving DNA maintenance and being able to revert to a pluripotent state where many new cell types can be re-formed allows the jellyfish to avoid the typical molecular consequences of aging.
Understanding the biochemical pathways that “reverse” aging in T. dohrnii can help us identify the pathways that either cause or stabilize the effects of aging in mammals, and any common dysregulation that occurs there, potentially pointing us in new research directions.
Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis: How We Can Help
Whether your research question involves comparing the genome and transcriptome of mortal and immortal jellyfish, or transcriptomic analysis in human disease models, we can help you tackle the challenging computational task of interpreting RNA-seq data. Our bioinformaticians are trained bench biologists, so they understand the biological questions driving your computational analysis. Book today for a free discovery call to discuss your needs.
Jane Cook, Journalist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics
Jane is a Content Writer at Bridge Informatics, a professional services firm that helps biotech customers implement advanced techniques in the management and analysis of genomic data. Bridge Informatics focuses on data mining, machine learning, and various bioinformatic techniques to discover biomarkers and companion diagnostics. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email [email protected] or [email protected].