Recently, the research group made up of Tang Haiqing and Pang Shanshan under the physiology team of the School of Life Science has made new achievements in research of aging mechanism and life span determination of animals. The research paper titled “Histone acetylation promotes long-lasting defense responses and longevity following early life heat stress” was published in Plos Genetics (Nature Index), an international authoritative journal on genetics. Dr. Zhou Lei is the first author. Professor Pang Shanshan and Teacher Tang Haiqing are corresponding co-authors. Chongqing University is the only organization. The Project has been supported by National Natural Science Foundation.
Environment pressure poses a significant impact on aging rate of animals. Excessive environmental pressure would generally result in damage of cells and human body, and shorten life span of animals. On the other hand, moderate pressure could generally defer senility, and increase life span of animals. The research of model animal indicated that the life span of an animal could be significantly extended if it was subject to certain external pressure in early stages of its life, such as heat stress. This implies that early life stress could pose a long-term impact on body health of aged animals across time. However, the involved biological mechanism is not known yet.
In this research, the typical model animal for aging research, caenorhabditis elegans, was used. It has been revealed that the high-temperature environment in early life would activate the immune and detoxifying reaction of animals. Surprisingly, after restoration of ambient-temperature feeding, such stress reaction would remain high-activity status for a long time, even in aged animals. Further research has indicated that histone acetyltransferase CBP-1 and chromatin remodeling compound SWI/SNF mediated the phenomenon as epigenetic regulation factors. Heat stimulation in early life could constantly increase the acetylation of histone, and result in specific gathering in the promoter area of stress reaction genes, thus constantly activating expression of stress genes. Ultimately, the health of aged animals is improved, and life span increased. The research provided a better understanding of the relation between environmental memory, epigenetic inheritance and aging regulation on the mechanism level.
Paper link: https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1008122