OMICS. 2020 Sep 9. doi: 10.1089/omi.2020.0116. Online ahead of print.
With a world population living longer as well as marked disparities in life expectancy, understanding the determinants of longevity is one of the priority research agendas in 21st century life sciences. To this end, the blind mole-rat (Spalax leucodon), a subterranean mammalian, has emerged as an exceptional model organism due to its astonishing features such as remarkable longevity, hypoxia and hypercapnia tolerance, and cancer resistance. The microbiome has been found to be a vital parameter for cellular physiology and it is safe to assume that it has an impact on life expectancy. Although the unique characteristics of Spalax make it an ideal experimental model for longevity research, there is limited knowledge of the bacterial composition of Spalax microbiome, which limits its in-depth utilization. In this study, using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, we report the gut and skin bacterial structure of Spalax for the first time. The diversity between fecal and skin samples was manifested in the distant clustering, as revealed by beta diversity analysis. Importantly, the longevity-linked Muribaculaceae bacterial family was found to be the dominating bacterial taxa in Spalax fecal samples. These new findings contribute toward further development of Spalax as a model for longevity research and potential linkages between microbiome composition and longevity.