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Fatty acid oxidation: A neglected factor in understanding the adjustment of mitochondrial function to cold temperatures

Citation

Lemieux, Helene; Mast, Heather; Holody, Claudia D. (2022), Fatty acid oxidation: A neglected factor in understanding the adjustment of mitochondrial function to cold temperatures, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m37pvmd4d

Abstract

For ectothermic species, adaptation to thermal changes is of critical importance. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), which leverages multiple electron pathways to produce energy needed for survival, is among the crucial metabolic processes impacted by temperature. Our aim in this study was to identify how changes in temperature affect the less-studied electron transferring flavoprotein pathway, fed by fatty acid substrates. We used the planarian Dugesia tigrina, acclimated for 4 weeks at 10°C (cold acclimated) or 20°C (normothermic). Respirometry experiments were conducted at an assay temperature of either 10 or 20°C to study specific states of the OXPHOS process using the fatty acid substrates palmitoylcarnitine (long chain), octanoylcarnitine (medium chain) or acetylcarnitine (short chain). Following cold acclimation, octanoylcarnitine exhibited increases in both the OXPHOS and electron transfer (ET, non-coupled) states, indicating that the pathway involved in medium-chain length fatty acids adjusts to cold temperatures. Acetylcarnitine only showed an increase in the OXPHOS state as a result of cold acclimation, but not in the ET state, indicative of a change in phosphorylation system capacity rather than fatty acid β-oxidation. Palmitoylcarnitine oxidation was unaffected. Our results show that cold acclimation in D. tigrina caused a specific adjustment in the capacity to metabolize medium-chain fatty acids rather than an adjustment in the activity of the enzymes carnitineacylcarnitine translocase, carnitine acyltransferase and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-2. Here, we provide novel evidence of the alterations in fatty acid β-oxidation during cold acclimation in D. tigrina.

Methods

Using High Resolution Respirometry.