Molecular mechanisms of hibernation
Hibernation is an energy-saving strategy to survive in harsh environmental conditions during winter with little or no food. Mammalian hibernators including squirrel and hamsters are tolerant to low core body temperature and drastic decrease of heart rates during hibernation, whereas such conditions cause severe organ damages and death in non-hibernators including mouse and humans. Interestingly, such tolerance seems to develop during pre-hibernation season prior to hibernation but not in non-hibernating seasons. Mechanisms that confer the tolerance to hibernation in the pre-hibernation season remain totally unclear. Using a well-controlled hibernation-inducing system and RNA-seq analysis, we are revealing how the hibernators remodel their body during the pre-hibernation seasons in order to hibernate.

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