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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007 May 1;461(1):59-65. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Antioxidant defense in hibernation: cloning and expression of peroxiredoxins from hibernating ground squirrels, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6.


Mammalian hibernation is characterized by prolonged torpor bouts interspersed by brief arousal periods. Adequate antioxidant defenses are needed both to sustain cell viability over weeks of deep torpor and to defend against high rates of oxyradical formation associated with massive oxygen-based thermogenesis during arousal. The present study shows that up-regulation of peroxiredoxins contributes to antioxidant defense during torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus. Expression levels of three isozymes of the 2-Cys peroxiredoxin (Prdx) family were quantified by Western blotting, the results showing 4.0- and 12.9-fold increases in Prdx1 protein in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and heart, respectively, during hibernation compared with euthermia. Comparable increases in Prdx2 were 2.4- and 3.7-fold whereas Prdx3 rose by 3.1-fold in heart of torpid animals. Total 2-Cys peroxiredoxin enzymatic activity also rose during hibernation by 1.5-fold in heart and 3.5-fold in BAT. Furthermore, RT-PCR showed that prdx2 mRNA levels increased by 1.7- and 3.7-fold in BAT and heart, respectively, during hibernation. A partial nucleotide sequence of prdx2 from ground squirrels was obtained by PCR amplification, the deduced amino acid sequence showing 96-97% identity with Prdx2 from other mammals. Some unique amino acid substitutions were identified that might contribute to stabilizing Prdx2 conformation at the near 0 degrees C body temperatures during torpor.

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