Orchestration of gene expression across the seasons: Hypothalamic gene expression in natural photoperiod throughout the year in the Siberian hamster

Ines Petri, Victoria Diedrich, Dana Wilson, José Fernández-Calleja, Annika Herwig, Stephan Steinlechner, Perry Barrett* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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26 Citations (Scopus)
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In nature Siberian hamsters utilize the decrement in day length following the summer solstice to implement physiological adaptations in anticipation of the forthcoming winter, but also exploit an intrinsic interval timer to initiate physiological recrudescence following the winter solstice. However, information is lacking on the temporal dynamics in natural photoperiod of photoperiodically regulated genes and their relationship to physiological adaptations. To address this, male Siberian hamsters born and maintained outdoors were sampled every month over the course of one year. As key elements of the response to photoperiod, thyroid hormone signalling components were assessed in the hypothalamus. From maximum around the summer solstice (late-June), Dio2 expression rapidly declined in advance of physiological adaptations. This was followed by a rapid increase in Mct8 expression (T3/T4 transport), peaking early-September before gradually declining to minimum expression by the following June. Dio3 showed a transient peak of expression beginning late-August. A recrudescence of testes and body mass occurred from mid-February, but Dio2 expression remained low until late-April of the following year, converging with the time of year when responsiveness to short-day length is re-established. Other photoperiodically regulated genes show temporal regulation, but of note is a transient peak in Gpr50 around late-July.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29689
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding for work in the laboratory of PB was supported by Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division, BBSRC (grant BB/M001504/1), British Society for Neuroendocrinology (research visit grant to IP). Work in the laboratory of SS was supported by a grant from the DFG (Ste 331/8-1). We thank Siegried Hilken, Marianne Brüning, Dr. Esther Lipokatic-Takacs and Dr. Frank Scherbarth at UVMH for technical assistance. We thank Graham Horgan of Bioinformatics, Statistics Scotland for assistance with some of statistical tests.


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