To investigate the roles that gene expression and new protein synthesis play in freezing survival by the wood frog, Rana sylvatica, we compared the in vitro translation products made from mRNA isolated from six tissues (liver, brain, heart, muscle, kidney, gut) of control (5°C), frozen (24 h at -2.5°C), and thawed (24 h at 5°C after 24 h frozen) frogs. [35S]Methionine-labeled proteins were separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and located by fluorography. Results indicated specific changes in the translatable populations of mRNA in tissues of freezing-exposed frogs that were largely reversed upon thawing. Differential protein expression was greatest in the comparison of liver from control versus frozen frogs with proteins ranging from 45 to 14.8 kDa identified as enhanced or unique to the frozen state. One unique protein appeared in skeletal muscle (116 kDa) of freeze-exposed frogs while another (52.5 kDa) was enhanced. Analysis of brain and heart each revealed the presence of one protein unique to the frozen state in each (58.9 and 5.9 kDa, respectively) whereas no change in the pattern of in vitro translation products was seen in gut (stomach + intestine combined) or kidney between the three experimental states. These freeze-induced alterations in the populations of translatable mRNA suggest that changes in the complement of specific proteins underlie various adaptive responses that contribute to the freezing survival of this amphibian.

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Keywords Amphibian cold hardiness, Freeze tolerance, Gene expression, Protein synthesis, Rana sylvatica
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Journal Cryobiology
White, D. (Dawn), & Storey, K. (1999). Freeze-induced alterations of translatable mRNA populations in wood frog organs. Cryobiology, 38(4), 353–362. doi:10.1006/cryo.1999.2178