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Title: Resilience, plasticity and robustness in gene expression during aging in the brain of outbred deer mice
Abstract Background Genes that belong to the same network are frequently co-expressed, but collectively, how the coordination of the whole transcriptome is perturbed during aging remains unclear. To explore this, we calculated the correlation of each gene in the transcriptome with every other, in the brain of young and older outbred deer mice (P. leucopus and P. maniculatus). Results In about 25 % of the genes, coordination was inversed during aging. Gene Ontology analysis in both species, for the genes that exhibited inverse transcriptomic coordination during aging pointed to alterations in the perception of smell, a known impairment occurring during aging. In P. leucopus, alterations in genes related to cholesterol metabolism were also identified. Among the genes that exhibited the most pronounced inversion in their coordination profiles during aging was THBS4, that encodes for thrombospondin-4, a protein that was recently identified as rejuvenation factor in mice. Relatively to its breadth, abolishment of coordination was more prominent in the long-living P. leucopus than in P. maniculatus but in the latter, the intensity of de-coordination was higher. Conclusions There sults suggest that aging is associated with more stringent retention of expression profiles for some genes and more abrupt changes in others, while more subtle but widespread changes in gene expression appear protective. Our findings shed light in the mode of the transcriptional changes occurring in the brain during aging and suggest that strategies aiming to broader but more modest changes in gene expression may be preferrable to correct aging-associated deregulation in gene expression.  more » « less
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BMC Genomics
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National Science Foundation
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