Research Interests

The subterranean blind mole-rat of the genus Nannospalax (hereafter, Spalax) is a remarkably long-lived, solitary, wild, obligatory fossorial rodent of the Eastern Mediterranean region. Spalax inhabits sealed underground burrows, relatively protected from extreme climatic changes, pathogens, and predators; however, it faces extreme hypoxic and hypercapnic conditions that can reach ~7% O2, and ~6%CO2 in the natural habitat, which appears to be lethal to many mammalian species. Hypoxia stimulates reactive oxygen species excessive generation that compromises genome integrity, proteostasis, and homeostasis in general. Spalax is an extremely long-living mammal relatively to its body mass (~20 years in captivity; 120-200 g); moreover, it tolerates chemical carcinogens. I am interested in studying the physiological, cellular, metabolic and genetic strategies; and the evolutionary changes and the fine-tuning of the molecular mechanisms that underlies longevity, resistance to environmental stress and cancer

Selected Publications 

Band M, Shams I, Joel A, and Avivi A. (2008) Cloning and in vivo expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (Flk1) in the naturally hypoxia-tolerant subterranean mole rat. FASEB J. 22(1):105-112.

Shams I, Rohmann E, Eswarakumar VP, Lew E, Yuzawa S, Wollnik B, Schlessinger J,  and Lax I. (2007) Lacrimo-Auriculo-Dento-Digital Syndrome is caused by reduced activity of the Fibroblast Growth Factor 10 (FGF10)-FGF Receptor. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27 (19):6903-6912.  

Ravid O, Shams I, Ben-Califa N, Nevo E, Avivi A, and Neumann D. (2007) An extracellular region of the erythropoietin receptor of the subterranean blind mole rat Spalax enhances receptor maturation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104:14360-14363.

Shams I, Avivi A, and Nevo E. (2005) Oxygen and carbon-dioxide fluctuations in burrows of subterranean blind mole rats indicate tolerance to hypoxic-hypercapnic stresses. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 142(3):376-382.  

Shams I, Nevo E, and Avivi A. (2005) Erythropoietin receptor spliced forms differentially expressed in blind subterranean mole rats. FASEB J. 19(12):1749-1751.

 Avivi A, Shams I, Joel A, Lache O,  Levy AP, and Nevo E. (2005) Increased blood vessel density provides the mole rat physiological tolerance to its hypoxic subterranean habitat. FASEB J. 19:1314-1316.  

Shams I, Nevo E, and Avivi A. (2005) Ontogenetic expression of erythropoietin and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha genes in subterranean blind mole rats. FASEB 19:307-309.

Shams I, Avivi A, and Nevo E. (2004) Hypoxic stress tolerance of the blind subterranean mole rat: Expression of erythropoietin and hypoxia-inducible factor 1a. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 101: 9698-9703.

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