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Biochemistry (Mosc). 2001 Aug;66(8):918-25.

Characteristics of sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane preparations isolated from skeletal muscles of active and hibernating ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 119899 Russia.


The total Ca-ATPase activity in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane fraction isolated from skeletal muscles of winter hibernating ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus is approximately 2.2-fold lower than in preparations obtained from summer active animals. This is connected in part with approximately 10% decrease of the content of Ca-ATPase protein in SR membranes. However, the enzyme specific activity calculated with correction for its content in SR preparations is still approximately 2-fold lower in hibernating animals. Analysis of the protein composition of SR membranes has shown that in addition to the decrease in Ca-ATPase content in hibernating animals, the amount of SR Ca-release channel (ryanodine receptor) is decreased approximately 2-fold, content of Ca-binding proteins calsequestrin, sarcalumenin, and histidine-rich Ca-binding protein is decreased approximately 3-4-fold, and the amount of proteins with molecular masses 55, 30, and 22 kD is significantly increased. Using the cross-linking agent cupric-phenanthroline, it was shown that in SR membranes of hibernating ground squirrels Ca-ATPase is present in a more aggregated state. The affinity of SR membranes to the hydrophilic fluorescent probe ANS is higher and the degree of excimerization of the hydrophobic probe pyrene is lower (especially for annular lipids) in preparations from hibernating than from summer active animals. The latter indicates an increase in the microviscosity of the lipid environment of Ca-ATPase during hibernation. We suggest that protein aggregation as well as the changes in protein composition and/or in properties of lipid bilayer SR membranes can result in the decrease of enzyme activity during hibernation.

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