Thermal independence of muscle tissue metabolism in the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea.

Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A Molecular & Integrative Physiology (Impact Factor: 2.17). 08/1998; 120(3):399-403. DOI: 10.1016/S1095-6433(98)00024-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Metabolic rates of animal tissues typically increase with increasing temperature and thermoregulatory control in an animal is a regional or whole body process. Here we report that metabolic rates of isolated leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) pectoralis muscle are independent of temperature from 5-38 degrees C (Q10 = 1). Conversely, metabolic rates of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) pectoralis muscle exhibit a typical vertebrate response and increase with increasing temperature (Q10 = 1.3-3.0). Leatherbacks traverse oceanic waters with dramatic temperature differences during their migrations from sub-polar to equatorial regions. The metabolic stability of leatherback muscle effectively uncouples resting muscle metabolism from thermal constraints typical of other vertebrate tissues. Unique muscle physiology of leatherbacks has important implications for understanding vertebrate muscle function, and is another strong argument for preservation of this endangered species.

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May 28, 2014