Monitoring Low Temperature Physiology in Hibernating Mammals
Final rept. 1 Mar 1999-31 Aug 2000
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV AT RALEIGH
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We have successfully identified genes controlling the physiological characteristics of hibernation in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel Spermophilus tridecemlineatus. Identification of these specific genetic markers has allowed us to study the function of their gene products under highly controlled conditions of temperature, light and humidity. To accomplish this goal specific instrumentation was purchased with this DURIP grant. Measurements of low-temperature physiology in hibernating mammals under controlled conditions required an environmental chamber that allows us to maintain a variety of ambient temperatures ranging from -5 to 20 deg C. The response and adaptation of our ground squirrel species to environmental change has been monitored by precisely measuring activity, core body temperature and heart rate using miniature, battery-free, inplantable transmitters that allow uninterrupted lifetime studies. Tissues collected from these animals were quick-frozen in liquid N2 and placed in a -86 deg C freezer where they are stored until we analyze patterns of gene expression controlling the physiological characteristics of hibernation in mammals.
- Anatomy and Physiology