Kurtis Douglas, M.Sc. Biology 2023

Response of DNA and histone lysine methylation regulators
during anoxia-reoxygenation and dehydration-rehydration
in wood frog (Rana sylvatica) skeletal muscle


The ability of wood frogs, Rana sylvaticaΒΈ to survive freezing and clinical death during harsh northern winters necessitates well-grounded mechanisms for managing extreme anoxia, dehydration, and reperfusion damage. These stresses are major instigators of pathogenesis yet to be overcome by humans. Contemporary efforts in the field are focused on interrogating stress-specific mediators that play a cytoprotective role in vital tissues such as skeletal muscle, providing valuable information to the biomedical community. Herein, the potential role of DNA and histone lysine methylation enzymes are examined in wood frog skeletal muscle in response to 24 h anoxia and 40% dehydration independently, and recovery from both stresses. This thesis demonstrates a condition-specific response of many epigenetic methylation regulators, highlighting some conserved similarities in comparison to prior freeze-thaw models. These findings support an integral role of epigenetic regulators in survival of hypometabolic stresses, most prominently during recovery stages. These cytoprotective effects are likely attributed to functional roles in transcriptional suppression during hypometabolism and activation during recovery, but also alternative roles based on known interactions with regulators of the cell cycle and repair pathways.