Integrative single-cell characterization of a frugivorous and an insectivorous bat kidney and pancreas

Wei E. Gordon, Seungbyn Baek, Hai P. Nguyen, Yien Ming Kuo, Rachael Bradley, Sarah L. Fong, Nayeon Kim, Alex Galazyuk, Insuk Lee, Melissa R. Ingala, Nancy B. Simmons, Tony Schountz, Lisa Noelle Cooper, Ilias Georgakopoulos-Soares, Martin Hemberg, Nadav Ahituv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frugivory evolved multiple times in mammals, including bats. However, the cellular and molecular components driving it remain largely unknown. Here, we use integrative single-cell sequencing (scRNA-seq and scATAC-seq) on insectivorous (Eptesicus fuscus; big brown bat) and frugivorous (Artibeus jamaicensis; Jamaican fruit bat) bat kidneys and pancreases and identify key cell population, gene expression and regulatory differences associated with the Jamaican fruit bat that also relate to human disease, particularly diabetes. We find a decrease in loop of Henle and an increase in collecting duct cells, and differentially active genes and regulatory elements involved in fluid and electrolyte balance in the Jamaican fruit bat kidney. The Jamaican fruit bat pancreas shows an increase in endocrine and a decrease in exocrine cells, and differences in genes and regulatory elements involved in insulin regulation. We also find that these frugivorous bats share several molecular characteristics with human diabetes. Combined, our work provides insights from a frugivorous mammal that could be leveraged for therapeutic purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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