Many ectotherms hibernate in face of the harsh winter conditions to improve their survival rate. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this process remains unclear. Here, we explored the hibernation mechanism of Chinese alligator using integrative multi-omics analysis. We revealed that (1) the thyroid hormone biosynthesis, nutrition absorption and metabolism, muscle contraction, urinary excretion and immunity function pathways are overall downregulated during hibernation; (2) the fat catabolism is completely suppressed, contrasting with the upregulation of hepatic fatty-acid-transporter CPT1A, suggesting a unique energy-saving strategy that differs from that in hibernating mammals; (3) the hibernation-related genes are not only directly regulated by DNA methylation but also controlled by methylation-dependent transcription networks. In addition, we identified and compared tissue-specific, species-specific, and conserved season-biased miRNAs, demonstrating complex post-transcriptional regulation during hibernation. Our study revealed the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying hibernation in the Chinese alligator and provided molecular insights into the evolution of hibernation regulation.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.