IAB Research Project Description

Collaborative Research: Differential Expression of Oxygen-Binding in Antarctic Fishes Affects Nitric Oxide-Mediated Pathways of Angiogenesis and Mitochondrial Biogenesis

Credit: Photo courtesy/Kristin O'Brien

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Temperature has a significant impact on the physiology of animals. One profound modification that occurs in response to a decrease in temperature is an increase in mitochondrial density in some aerobically-poised tissues. This process is critical for increasing aerobic metabolic capacity in animals, yet questions remain about how it is regulated, and why it occurs in some mitochondrial-rich tissues, yet not others. The studies described in this proposal are aimed at addressing these questions, using the three-spine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus as a model organism. We will test the hypothesis that the mitochondrion produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to a decrease in temperature which are required to induce the expression of genes required for mitochondrial biogenesis, possibly through a nitric oxide-dependent pathway. This proposal holds intellectual merit, as results from this research will increase our knowledge of mitochondrial biogenesis which is a vital process, central to the health of all organisms. Our research will address the following specific aims: Determine the extent and time frame for which mitochondrial biogenesis occurs in response to cold temperature in heart muscle, liver and oxidative skeletal muscle; Determine if ROS formation is required for mitochondrial biogenesis; Determine is nitric oxide production increases in response to cold temperature and is required for mitochondrial biogenesis; Determine if levels of antioxidants and/or expression of uncoupling proteins regulate the tissue-specificity of mitochondrial biogenesis.

Project Funding

National Science Foundation
31 Aug 2005 – 31 Jul 2008
IAB Proposal #04-100
UAF Grant #G2482
IAB Project #140

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412