- ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC
Bears undergo annual cycles in body mass: rapid fattening in autumn (i.e., hyperphagia), and mass loss in winter (i.e., hibernation). To investigate how Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) adapt to such extreme physiological conditions, we analyzed changes in the mRNA expression of energy metabolism-related genes in white adipose tissues and skeletal muscle throughout three physiological stages: normal activity (June), hyperphagia (November), and hibernation (March). During hyperphagia, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed the upregulation of de novo lipogenesis-related genes (e.g., fatty acid synthase and diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2) in white adipose tissue, although the bears had been maintained with a constant amount of food. In contrast, during the hibernation period, we observed a downregulation of genes involved in glycolysis (e.g., glucose transporter 4) and lipogenesis (e.g., acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1) and an upregulation of genes in fatty acid catabolism (e.g., carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A) in both tissue types. In white adipose tissues, we observed upregulation of genes involved in glyceroneogenesis, including pyruvate carboxylase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1, suggesting that white adipose tissue plays a role in the recycling of circulating free fatty acids via re-esterification. In addition, the downregulation of genes involved in amino acid catabolism (e.g., alanine aminotransferase) and the TCA cycle (e.g., pyruvate carboxylase) indicated a role of skeletal muscle in muscle protein sparing and pyruvate recycling via the Cori cycle. These examples of coordinated transcriptional regulation would contribute to rapid mass gain during the pre-hibernation period and to energy preservation and efficient energy production during the hibernation period. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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