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Multi-omics analysis reveals that natural hibernation is crucial for oocyte maturation in the female Chinese alligator.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Hibernation in an appropriate environment not only is important for the survival of hibernators in winter, but also is crucial for breeding in the following season for many hibernating species. However, the genetic and epigenetic mechanism underlying this process remain unclear. In the current study, we performed an integrative multi-omics analysis of gonads collected from Chinese alligators that overwintered in wild cave and artificial warmroom to explore transcriptomic and epigenomic alternations in these organs. RESULTS:The data revealed that in the breeding season, female alligators were more strongly affected in terms of gene expression than males by non-hibernation because of overwintering in a warm room, especially for genes related to oocyte maturation, and this effect commenced in winter with the downregulation of STAR, which is the rate limiting factor of steroid biosynthesis. Further, miRNAs were found to play essential roles in this negative effect of overwintering in the warm room on hibernation. The upregulated miRNAs likely were responsible for the suppression of oocyte maturation in the breeding season. Finally, DNA methylome changes, especially hypomethylation, were found to play an important role in the alterations in ovarian function-related gene expression induced by non-hibernation. CONCLUSIONS:Our study revealed the crucial role of hibernation quality for oocyte maturation in the Chinese alligator and the underlying genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, and highlights the importance of habitat, and especially, the overwintering site, in the conservation of not only the Chinese alligator, but also other endangered hibernators.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7653761 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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