Hibernating mammals employ strong metabolic rate depression to survive the winter, thereby avoiding the high energy costs of maintaining a euthermic lifestyle in the face of low seasonal temperatures and limited food resources. Characteristics of this natural torpor include a significant reduction in body temperature, a shift to a lipid-based metabolism, global suppression of ATP-expensive activities, and the upregulation of selected genes that mediate biochemical reorganization and cytoprotection. Sirtuin (SIRT) proteins, an evolutionarily conserved family of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases, have been shown to play important roles in the post-translational regulation of many metabolic and cytoprotective processes, suggesting a potential function for these enzymes in the control of hibernation. To assess this possibility, protein levels of the seven mammalian SIRTs (SIRT1, SIRT2, SIRT3, SIRT4, SIRT5, SIRT6 and SIRT7), total SIRT activity, and the acetylation status of two downstream SIRT targets (SOD2K68 and NF-κB p65K310) were measured in skeletal muscle, liver, brown adipose and white adipose tissues of the hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) over the course of the torpor-arousal cycle. The analysis revealed tissue-specific responses of different SIRTs at various points throughout hibernation, including a potentially interesting correlation between increased levels of SIRT3 protein, heightened total SIRT activity, and decreased acetylation of SIRT3 downstream target SOD2K68 in skeletal muscle during late torpor. These results provide evidence to suggest a possible role for the SIRT family of protein deacetylases in the regulation of the metabolic and cellular protective pathways that mediate the process of mammalian hibernation.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Acetylation, Brown adipose tissue, Hibernation, Liver, Sirtuins, Skeletal muscle, SOD2, White adipose tissue
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cryobiol.2015.08.009
Journal Cryobiology
Rouble, A.N. (Andrew N.), & Storey, K. (2015). Characterization of the SIRT family of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases in the context of a mammalian model of hibernation, the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. Cryobiology, 71(2), 334–343. doi:10.1016/j.cryobiol.2015.08.009