Terrestrial birth and body size tune UCP1 functionality in seals

Gaudry, Michael J., Khudyakov, Jane, Pirard, Laura, Debier, Cathy, Crocker, Daniel, Crichton, Paul G. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3786-8359 and Jastroch, Martin (2024) Terrestrial birth and body size tune UCP1 functionality in seals. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 41 (4). ISSN 0737-4038

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The molecular evolution of the mammalian heater protein UCP1 is a powerful biomarker to understand thermoregulatory strategies during species radiation into extreme climates, such as aquatic life with high thermal conductivity. While fully aquatic mammals lost UCP1, most semiaquatic seals display intact UCP1 genes, apart from large elephant seals. Here, we show that UCP1 thermogenic activity of the small-bodied harbor seal is equally potent compared to terrestrial orthologs, emphasizing its importance for neonatal survival on land. In contrast, elephant seal UCP1 does not display thermogenic activity, not even when translating a repaired or a recently highlighted truncated version. Thus, the thermogenic benefits for neonatal survival during terrestrial birth in semiaquatic pinnipeds maintained evolutionary selection pressure on UCP1 function and were only outweighed by extreme body sizes among elephant seals, fully eliminating UCP1-dependent thermogenesis.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The M.J. laboratory is supported by the Ascending Investigator Grant of the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Grant 0059646) and the Swedish Research Council (Grant 2022-03136).
Uncontrolled Keywords: brown adipose tissue,nonshivering thermogenesis,pinniped,pseudogene,ucp1,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,molecular biology,genetics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Metabolic Health
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2024 09:30
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024 09:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95665
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msae075


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