The effects of 20 h of anoxic submergence in cold water and 5 h of aerobic recovery on the heat shock response were analyzed in four organs of the anoxia-tolerant turtle Trachemys scripta elegans. Immunoblotting was used to analyze levels of active and inactive forms of the heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), nuclear translocation of HSF1, and the levels of six heat shock proteins (HSPs). PCR was also used to retrieve the turtle HSF1 nucleotide sequence; its deduced amino acid sequence showed 97% identity with chicken HSF1. White skeletal muscle showed a strong fivefold increase in the amount of active HSF1 under anoxic conditions as well as an 80% increase in nuclear localization. This was accompanied by upregulation of five HSPs by 1.8- to 2.9-fold: Hsp25, Hsp40, Hsp70, Hsc70, and Hsp90, the latter two remained elevated after 5 h of aerobic recovery. Kidney and liver showed little change in active HSF1 content during anoxia and recovery, but a significant increase in the nuclear localization of HSF1 during anoxia. This supported enhanced expression of three HSPs in kidney (Hsp40, Hsc70, and Hsp90) and four in liver (Hsp40, Hsp60, Hsp70, Hsc70). Heart displayed a strong increase in active HSF1 during anoxia and recovery (6.6- to 6.8-fold higher than control) and increased nuclear localization but heart HSP levels did not rise. The data demonstrate organ-specific regulation of HSPs during anoxia exposure and aerobic recovery in T. s. elegans and suggest that the heat shock response is an important aspect of cytoprotection during facultative anaerobiosis, particularly with regard to underwater hibernation of turtles in cold water.

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Journal Journal of Comparative Physiology B
Krivoruchko, A. (Anastasia), & Storey, K. (2010). Regulation of the heat shock response under anoxia in the turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 180(3), 403–414. doi:10.1007/s00360-009-0414-9