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Global Age-Specific Patterns of Cyclic Gene Expression Revealed by Tunicate Transcriptome Atlas

By Yotam Voskoboynik, Aidan Glina, Mark Kowarsky, Chiara Anselmi, Norma F. Neff, Katherine J. Ishizuka, Karla J. Palmeri, Benyamin Rosental, Tal Gordon, Stephen R Quake, Irving L. Weissman, Rachel Ben-Shlomo, Debashis Sahoo, Ayelet Voskoboynik

Posted 09 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.08.417055

Expression levels of circadian clock genes, which regulate 24-hour rhythms of behavior and physiology, have been shown to change with age. However, a study holistically linking aging and circadian gene expression is missing. Using the colonial chordate Botryllus schlosseri, we combined transcriptome sequencing and stem cell-mediated aging phenomena to test how circadian gene expression changes with age. This revealed that B. schlosseri clock and clock-controlled genes oscillate organism-wide, with daily, age-specific amplitudes and frequencies. These age-related, circadian patterns persist at the tissue level, where dramatic variations in cyclic gene expression of tissue profiles link to morphological and cellular aging phenotypes. Similar cyclical expression differences were found in hundreds of pathways associated with known hallmarks of aging, as well as pathways that were not previously linked to aging. The atlas we developed points to alterations in circadian gene expression as a key regulator of aging.

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