Physiological and genetic convergence supports hypoxia resistance in high-altitude songbirds

Autoři: Ying Xiong aff001;  Liqing Fan aff003;  Yan Hao aff001;  Yalin Cheng aff001;  Yongbin Chang aff001;  Jing Wang aff001;  Haiyan Lin aff001;  Gang Song aff001;  Yanhua Qu aff001;  Fumin Lei aff001
Působiště autorů: Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China aff001;  University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China aff002;  National Forest Ecosystem Observation & Research Station of Nyingchi Tibet, Institute of Plateau Ecology, Tibet Agriculture & Animal Husbandry University, Linzhi City, China aff003;  Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology in Tibet Plateau (Tibet Agriculture & Animal Husbandry University), Ministry of Education, Linzhi City, China aff004;  Center for Excellence in Animal Evolution and Genetics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China aff005
Vyšlo v časopise: Physiological and genetic convergence supports hypoxia resistance in high-altitude songbirds. PLoS Genet 16(12): e1009270. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009270
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009270


Skeletal muscle plays a central role in regulating glucose uptake and body metabolism; however, highland hypoxia is a severe challenge to aerobic metabolism in small endotherms. Therefore, understanding the physiological and genetic convergence of muscle hypoxia tolerance has a potential broad range of medical implications. Here we report and experimentally validate a common physiological mechanism across multiple high-altitude songbirds that improvement in insulin sensitivity contributes to glucose homeostasis, low oxygen consumption, and relative activity, and thus increases body weight. By contrast, low-altitude songbirds exhibit muscle loss, glucose intolerance, and increase energy expenditures under hypoxia. This adaptive mechanism is attributable to convergent missense mutations in the BNIP3L gene, and METTL8 gene that activates MEF2C expression in highlanders, which in turn increases hypoxia tolerance. Together, our findings from wild high-altitude songbirds suggest convergent physiological and genetic mechanisms of skeletal muscle in hypoxia resistance, which highlights the potentially medical implications of hypoxia-related metabolic diseases.

Klíčová slova:

Insulin – Mitochondria – Bird genetics – Bird physiology – Birds – Glucose – Hypoxia – Skeletal muscles


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