Genome sequencing and transcriptome analyses of the Siberian hamster hypothalamus identify mechanisms for seasonal energy balance

Riyue Bao, Kenneth G. Onishi, Elisabetta Tolla, Fran J. P. Ebling, Jo E Lewis, Richard L. Anderson, Perry Barrett, Brian J. Prendergast, Tyler J. Stevenson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Synthesis of triiodothyronine (T3) in the hypothalamus induces marked seasonal neuromorphology changes across taxa. How species-specific responses to T3 signaling in the CNS drive annual changes in body weight and energy balance remains uncharacterized. These experiments sequenced and annotated the Siberian hamster (Phodopus sungorus) genome, a model organism for seasonal physiology research, to facilitate the dissection of T3-dependent molecular mechanisms that govern predictable, robust, and long-term changes in body weight. Examination of the Phodopus genome, in combination with transcriptome sequencing of the hamster diencephalon under winter and summer conditions, and in vivo-targeted expression analyses confirmed that proopiomelanocortin (pomc) is a primary genomic target for the long-term T3-dependent regulation of body weight. Further in silico analyses of pomc promoter sequences revealed that thyroid hormone receptor 1β-binding motif insertions have evolved in several genera of the Cricetidae family of rodents. Finally, experimental manipulation of food availability confirmed that hypothalamic pomc mRNA expression is dependent on longer-term photoperiod cues and is unresponsive to acute, short-term food availability. These observations suggest that species-specific responses to hypothalamic T3, driven in part by the receptor-binding motif insertions in some cricetid genomes, contribute critically to the long-term regulation of energy balance and the underlying physiological and behavioral adaptations associated with the seasonal organization of behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13116-13121
Number of pages6
Issue number26
Early online date12 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


  • triiodothyronine
  • proopiomelanocortin
  • seasonal
  • obesity
  • Obesity
  • Proopiomelanocortin
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Seasonal
  • MICE

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