Natural freeze tolerance depends on cellular adaptations that address the multiple stresses imposed on cells during freezing. These adaptations preserve viability by suppressing energy-expensive cell processes in the frozen state. In this study, we explore the freeze-responsive expression of microRNA in hatchling painted turtles exposed to 20 h freezing. Furthermore, we also explore the possibility of unique temperature-sensitive microRNA targeting programs that aid in adapting turtles for survival in the frozen state. Interestingly, two freeze-responsive 'cryo-miRs' (cpm-miR-16 and cpm-miR-21) were found to have unique low-temperature mRNA targets enriched in biological processes that are known to be part of the stress response.

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Keywords Cryo-mIR, Hypometabolism, Metabolic rate depression, miR-16, miR-21
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Journal FEBS Letters
Biggar, K.K, & Storey, K. (2015). Low-temperature microRNA expression in the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta during freezing stress. FEBS Letters, 589(23), 3665–3670. doi:10.1016/j.febslet.2015.10.026