They launch new hypotheses about how bats tolerate viruses.

2023/03/07 Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Rat ear (Myotis myotis). Ed. Czech Academy of Science (Pavlína Jáchimová) / CC-BY-SA

Bats find in their stem cells new signs of how so many viruses suffer. Precisely in order to study the tolerance to viruses, the technique of formation of mother cells induced by bats has been developed. This technique will allow many more laboratory investigations. The work has been published in the journal Cell.

Bats differ in many ways from other mammals. For example, they host many more viruses than any other mammal (including human lethal viruses), without significant damage. Precisely, the objective of this study was to investigate how they achieve it. However, it is very difficult to get enough samples for this and they thought that one path could be the creation of pluripotent stem cells. In fact, these cells can be kept in the laboratory and generate from them the types of treatments needed in each case. The protocol for the formation of induced pluripotent stem cells from other mammals did not serve for bats. However, the researchers were able to find the necessary combination of factors.

Stem cells have been obtained by two bat species: the great bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) and the rat ear (Myotis myotis). The two species are evolutionarily quite apart, so they expect the technique to serve almost all bats, even more mammals.

The study of these stem cells revealed that there were many active viral sequences. Viruses usually affect certain cells. But the presence of so many active pluripotent stem cell viruses has surprised researchers. And they suggest that bats don't oppose these viruses, because their replication will give them some advantage, for example, that they can have a control strategy on other viruses or function as vaccines.

These are just one hypothesis, but researchers are convinced that the bat stem cell generation technique will allow them to have more responses soon.


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