Animal survival during severe hypoxia and/or anoxia is enhanced by a variety of biochemical adaptations including adaptations of fermentative pathways of energy production and, most importantly, the ability to sharply reduce metabolic rate by 5-20 fold and enter a hypometabolic state. The biochemical regulation of metabolic arrest is proving to have common molecular principles that extend across phylogenetic lines and that are conserved in different types of arrested states (not only anaerobiosis but also estivation, hibernation, etc.). Our new studies with anoxia-tolerant vertebrates have identified a variety of regulatory mechanisms involved in both metabolic rate depression and in the aerobic recovery process using as models the freshwater turtle Trachemys scripta elegans and garter snakes Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis. Mechanisms include: 1) post-translational modification of cellular and functional proteins by reversible phosphorylation and changes in protein kinase (PKA, PKC) and/or phosphatase activities to regulate this, 2) reversible enzyme binding associations with subcellular structural elements, 3) differential gene expression and/or mRNA translation producing new mRNA variants and new protein products, 4) changes in protease activity, particularly the multicatalytic proteinase complex, and 5) both constitutive and anoxia-induced modifications to cellular antioxidant systems to deal with oxidative stress during the anoxic-aerobic transition of recovery.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -- Part B: Biochemistry and
Department of Biology

Storey, K. (1996). Metabolic adaptations supporting anoxia tolerance in reptiles: Recent advances. In Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -- Part B: Biochemistry and (Vol. 113, pp. 23–35). doi:10.1016/0305-0491(95)02043-8