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J Exp Biol. 2012 May 1;215(Pt 9):1425-33. doi: 10.1242/jeb.054403.

Aestivation: signaling and hypometabolism.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 5B6.


Aestivation is a survival strategy used by many vertebrates and invertebrates to endure arid environmental conditions. Key features of aestivation include strong metabolic rate suppression, strategies to retain body water, conservation of energy and body fuel reserves, altered nitrogen metabolism, and mechanisms to preserve and stabilize organs, cells and macromolecules over many weeks or months of dormancy. Cell signaling is crucial to achieving both a hypometabolic state and reorganizing multiple metabolic pathways to optimize long-term viability during aestivation. This commentary examines the current knowledge about cell signaling pathways that participate in regulating aestivation, including signaling cascades mediated by the AMP-activated kinase, Akt, ERK, and FoxO1.

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