Comparative analysis of the daily liver transcriptomes in wild nocturnal bats

BMC Genomics. 2022 Aug 10;23(1):572. doi: 10.1186/s12864-022-08823-y.


Background: Mammals rely on the circadian clock network to regulate daily systemic metabolism and physiological activities. The liver is an important peripheral organ in mammals, and it has a unique circadian rhythm regulation process. As the only mammals that can fly, bats have attracted much research attention due to their nocturnal habits and life histories. However, few research reports exist concerning the circadian rhythms of bat liver gene expression and the relevant biological clock regulation mechanisms in the liver.

Results: In this study, the expression levels of liver genes of Asian particolored bats were comparatively analyzed using RNA-seq at four different time points across 24 h. A total of 996 genes were found to be rhythmic, accounting for 65% of the total number of expressed genes. The critical circadian rhythm genes Bmal1, Rev-erbα, Cry, and Ror in the liver exhibited different expression patterns throughout the day, and participated in physiological processes with rhythmic changes, including Th17 cell differentiation (ko04659), antigen processing and presentation (ko04612), the estrogen signaling pathway (ko04915), and insulin resistance (ko04931). In addition, previous studies have found that the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) metabolic signaling pathway (ko03320) may play a vital role in the rhythmic regulation of the metabolic network.

Conclusions: This study is the first to demonstrate diurnal changes in bat liver gene expression and related physiological processes. The results have thus further enriched our understanding of bats' biological clocks.

Keywords: Bat; Circadian rhythm; Comparative transcriptome; Liver.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chiroptera* / genetics
  • Circadian Clocks* / genetics
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Transcriptome