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Cryobiology. 2006 Dec;53(3):297-309. Epub 2006 Sep 14.

Stress-induced activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase in the freeze-tolerant frog Rana sylvatica.

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Hormone and Metabolic Research Unit, Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology, University of Louvain Medical School, Avenue Hippocrate 75, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.


Survival in the frozen state depends on biochemical adaptations that deal with multiple stresses on cells including long-term ischaemia and tissue dehydration. We investigated whether the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) could play a regulatory role in the metabolic re-sculpting that occurs during freezing. AMPK activity and the phosphorylation state of translation factors were measured in liver and skeletal muscle of wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) subjected to anoxia, dehydration, freezing, and thawing after freezing. AMPK activity was increased 2-fold in livers of frozen frogs compared with the controls whereas in skeletal muscle, AMPK activity increased 2.5-, 4.5- and 3-fold in dehydrated, frozen and frozen/thawed animals, respectively. Immunoblotting with phospho-specific antibodies revealed an increase in the phosphorylation state of eukaryotic elongation factor-2 at the inactivating Thr56 site in livers from frozen frogs and in skeletal muscles of anoxic frogs. No change in phosphorylation state of eukaryotic initiation factor-2alpha at the inactivating Ser51 site was seen in the tissues under any of the stress conditions. Surprisingly, ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation was increased 2-fold in livers from frozen frogs and 10-fold in skeletal muscle from frozen/thawed animals. However, no change in translation capacity was detected in cell-free translation assays with skeletal muscle extracts under any of the experimental conditions. The changes in phosphorylation state of translation factors are discussed in relation to the control of protein synthesis and stress-induced AMPK activation.

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