The wood frog (Rana sylvatica) can tolerate full body freezing in winter. As a protective response, wood frogs dehydrate their cells and accumulate large quantities of glucose as an intracellular cryoprotectant. Freezing causes ischemia since blood delivery to organs is interrupted. Fascinatingly, wood frogs can tolerate dehydration, extreme hyperglycemia, and anoxia independently of freezing. In response to low oxygen levels, wood frogs strategically reduce their metabolic rates and allocate the finite amount of intracellular fuel available to pro-survival processes while reducing or interrupting all others. In this study, the involvement of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and the high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein in activating RAGE (AGE receptor) were investigated. The results show that freezing, anoxia and dehydration induced the expression of total HMGB1 and its acetylation in the heart. RAGE levels were induced in response to all stress conditions, which resulted in differential regulation of the ETS1 transcription factor. While the nuclear localization of total ETS1 was not affected, the DNA binding activity of total and its active form increased in response to freezing and dehydration but not in response to anoxia. Current results indicate that ETS1 acts as a transcriptional activator for peroxiredoxin 1 in response to freezing but acts as a transcriptional repressor of several nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes in response to all stresses. Altogether, current results show that the HMGB1/RAGE axis may activate ETS1 and that this activation could result in both transcriptional activation and/or repression in a stress-dependent manner.

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Institute of Biochemistry

Al-attar, R. (Rasha), & Storey, K. (2020). RAGE against the stress: Mitochondrial suppression in hypometabolic hearts. Gene, 761. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2020.145039