Stay tiny, go underground, beat cancer: molecular mechanisms supporting longevity in the blind mole rat
The blind subterranean mole rats (Spalax) belong to a rodent group that solitarily inhabit self-constructed sealed underground burrows system. During its evolution, Spalax has developed mechanisms to face hypoxia and oxidative stress that are known to compromise genome stability, promote cancer, and accelerate aging. Alongside the naked mole rat, bats, and other species, Spalax shows outstanding long life span (~20 years) despite its small body mass. Our studies focus on the adaptations underlying Spalax hypoxia tolerance, cancer resistance, and longevity.