Linking gene expression and phenotypic changes in the developmental and evolutionary origins of osteosclerosis in the ribs of bowhead whales (balaena mysticetus).

Title

Linking gene expression and phenotypic changes in the developmental and evolutionary origins of osteosclerosis in the ribs of bowhead whales (balaena mysticetus).

Creator

Cooper LN; Ball HC; Vinyard CJ; Safadi FF; George JC; Thewissen JGM

Publisher

Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution

Date

2020
2020-07-29

Description

Bowhead whales are among the longest-lived mammals with an extreme lifespan of about 211 years. During the first 25 years of their lives, rib bones increase in mineral density and the medulla transitions from compact to trabecular bone. Molecular drivers associated with these phenotypic changes in bone remain unknown. This study assessed expression levels of osteogenic genes from samples of rib bones of bowheads. Samples were harvested from prenatal to 86-year-old whales, representing the first third of the bowhead lifespan. Fetal to 2-year-old bowheads showed expression levels consistent with the rapid deposition of the bone extracellular matrix. Sexually mature animals showed expression levels associated with low rates of osteogenesis and increased osteoclastogenesis. After the first 25 years of life, declines in osteogenesis corresponded with increased expression of EZH2, an epigenetic regulator of osteogenesis. These findings suggest EZH2 may be at least one epigenetic modifier that contributes to the age-related changes in the rib bone phenotype along with the transition from compact to trabecular bone. Ancient cetaceans and their fossil relatives also display these phenotypes, suggesting EZH2 may have shaped the skeleton of whales in evolutionary history.

Subject

aging; Cetacea; bone; whales; osteoblasts; hyperostosis

Identifier

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Format

journalArticle

Search for Full-text

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ISSN

1552-5015 1552-5007

NEOMED College

NEOMED College of Medicine

NEOMED Department

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
NEOMED Postdoc Publications

Update Year & Number

August 2020 List

Citation

Cooper LN; Ball HC; Vinyard CJ; Safadi FF; George JC; Thewissen JGM, “Linking gene expression and phenotypic changes in the developmental and evolutionary origins of osteosclerosis in the ribs of bowhead whales (balaena mysticetus).,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed October 25, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/11234.

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