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Physiol Biochem Zool. 2012 Jan-Feb;85(1):74-84. doi: 10.1086/663771. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Expression analysis of glycerol synthesis-related liver transcripts in rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) exposed to a controlled decrease in temperature.

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Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5S7, Canada.


Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) accumulate high glycerol levels to avoid freezing at subzero temperatures. Glyceroneogenesis is activated by low temperature and occurs in liver via a branch in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis. In this study, carbohydrate and liver transcript levels of 21 genes potentially associated with glycerol production were assessed during a controlled warm to cold transition. Smelt were held at 8°C (warm smelt; non-glycerol accumulating) or subjected to a controlled decrease in water temperature from 8° to 0°C (cold smelt; glycerol accumulating) and sampled at the end of the temperature decrease and 1 mo later. In cold smelt compared with warm smelt, liver glycogen levels were lower and phosphoglucomutase transcript levels were higher. Plasma glycerol levels were higher and increased over time in cold smelt; in cold smelt, liver phosphofructokinase and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase transcript levels increased over time. These findings imply that glycerol production is being fueled by glycogen degradation and inhibition of pyruvate oxidation serves to channel metabolic flux toward glycerol as opposed to complete glycolysis. Plasma glucose and liver glucose-6-phosphatase transcript levels were higher. Lipoprotein lipase transcript levels were higher, suggesting enhanced lipid breakdown to fuel energy metabolism. Glutamine synthetase transcript levels were higher, perhaps to store nitrogen for biosynthesis in spring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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