The red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), has developed remarkable adaptive mechanisms for coping with decreased oxygen availability during winter when lakes and ponds become covered with ice. Strategies for enduring anoxia tolerance include an increase in fermentable fuel reserves to support anaerobic glycolysis, the buffering of end products to minimize acidosis, altered expression in crucial survival genes, and strong metabolic rate suppression to minimize ATP-expensive metabolic processes such as protein synthesis. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is at the center of the insulin-signaling pathway that regulates protein translation. The present study analyzed the responses of the mTOR signaling pathway to 5 (5H) or 20 h (20H) of anoxic submergence in liver and skeletal muscle of T. scripta elegans with a particular focus on regulatory changes in the phosphorylation states of targets. The data showed that phosphorylation of multiple mTOR targets was suppressed in skeletal muscle, but activated in the liver. Phosphorylated mTORSer2448 showed no change in skeletal muscle but had increased by approximately 4.5-fold in the liver after 20H of anoxia. The phosphorylation states of upstream positive regulators of mTOR (p-PDK-1Ser241, p-AKTSer473, and protein levels of GβL), the relative levels of dephosphorylated active PTEN, as well as phosphorylation state of negative regulators (TSC2Thr1462, p-PRAS40Thr246) were generally found to be differentially regulated in skeletal muscle and in liver. Downstream targets of mTOR (p-p70 S6KThr389, p-S6Ser235, PABP, p-4E-BP1Thr37/46, and p-eIF4ESer209) were generally unchanged in skeletal muscle but upregulated in most targets in liver. These findings indicate that protein synthesis is enhanced in the liver and suggests an increase in the synthesis of crucial proteins required for anoxic survival.

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Keywords AKT, Anoxia, Metabolic rate depression, Protein synthesis, Red-eared slider, S6
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Journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Szereszewski, K.E. (Kama E.), & Storey, K. (2017). Translational regulation in the anoxic turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 1–11. doi:10.1007/s11010-017-3247-y