Gene expression in the brain across the hibernation cycle.

TitleGene expression in the brain across the hibernation cycle.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Date Published1999

The purpose of this study was to characterize changes in gene expression in the brain of a seasonal hibernator, the golden-mantled ground squirrel, Spermophilus lateralis, during the hibernation season. Very little information is available on molecular changes that correlate with hibernation state, and what has been done focused mainly on seasonal changes in peripheral tissues. We produced over 4000 reverse transcription-PCR products from euthermic and hibernating brain and compared them using differential display. Twenty-nine of the most promising were examined by Northern analysis. Although some small differences were observed across hibernation states, none of the 29 had significant changes. However, a more direct approach, investigating expression of putative hibernation-responsive genes by Northern analysis, revealed an increase in expression of transcription factors c-fos, junB, and c-Jun, but not junD, commencing during late torpor and peaking during the arousal phase of individual hibernation bouts. In contrast, prostaglandin D2 synthase declined during late torpor and arousal but returned to a high level on return to euthermia. Other genes that have putative roles in mammalian sleep or specific brain functions, including somatostatin, enkephalin, growth-associated protein 43, glutamate acid decarboxylases 65/67, histidine decarboxylase, and a sleep-related transcript SD464 did not change significantly during individual hibernation bouts. We also observed no decline in total RNA or total mRNA during torpor; such a decline had been previously hypothesized. Therefore, it appears that the dramatic changes in body temperature and other physiological variables that accompany hibernation involve only modest reprogramming of gene expression or steady-state mRNA levels.

Short TitleJ Neurosci
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