Screening of a cDNA library prepared from liver of the freeze-tolerant wood frog (Rana sylvatica) identified a freeze-responsive clone containing a 1370-nt sequence with an open reading frame of 360 amino acids. Sequence analysis revealed 84-86% identity with the mammalian inorganic phosphate carrier (PiC) that spans the inner mitochondrial membrane. Northern blot analysis showed that pic transcript levels increased over a time course of freezing, reaching 60-fold upregulation after 24-h frozen. Transcript levels were also assessed under freezing-related stresses with results showing a strong increase in pic transcript levels in response to dehydration (elevated 9.0-fold in 40% dehydrated frogs) but not under anoxia. Western blotting revealed elevated PiC protein over a time course of freeze-thaw whereas other mitochondrial carriers (dicarboxylate carrier, oxoglutarate transporter) of the same family were not affected by freezing. This modulation of PiC protein levels may play a role in mitochondrial ionic and/or osmotic balance during freeze-induced cell volume reduction.

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Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Department of Biology

De Croos, J.N.A. (J. N. Amritha), McNally, J.D. (J. Dayre), Palmieri, F. (Ferdinando), & Storey, K. (2004). Upregulation of the mitochondrial phosphate carrier during freezing in the wood frog Rana sylvatica: Potential roles of transporters in freeze tolerance. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, 36(3), 229–239. doi:10.1023/B:JOBB.0000031974.35812.c9