Metabolism, Genomics, and DNA Repair in the Mouse Aging Liver
To better define the time course of spontaneous mutation frequency in middle to late adulthood of the mouse, measurements were made at 10, 14, 17, 23, 25, and 30 months of age in samples of adipose tissue, liver, cerebellum (90% neurons), and the male germline (95% germ cells). A total of 46 million plaque-forming units (pfus) were screened at the six time points and 1,450 circular blue plaques were harvested and sequenced. These data improve resolution and confirm the previously observed occurrence of at least two tissue-specific profiles of spontaneous mutation frequency (elevation with age in adipose tissue and liver, and constancy with age in neurons and male germ cells), a low mutation frequency in the male germline, and a mutation pattern unchanged with age within a tissue. These findings appear to extend to very old age (30 months). Additional findings include interanimal variation in spontaneous mutation frequency is larger in adipose tissues and liver compared with neurons and male germ cells, and subtle but significant differences in the mutation pattern among tissues, consistent with a minor effect of tissue-specific metabolism. The presumptive unaltered balance of DNA damage and repair with age in the male germline has evolutionary consequences. It is of particular interest given the controversy over whether or not increasing germline mutation frequency with paternal age underlies the reports associating older males with a higher incidence of some types of genetic disease. These most detailed measurements available to date regarding the time course of spontaneous mutation frequency and pattern in individual tissues help to constrain hypotheses regarding the role of mutational mechanisms in DNA repair and aging.