In order to complete their energetically demanding journeys, migratory birds undergo a suite of physiological changes to prepare for long-duration endurance flight, including hyperphagia, fat deposition, reliance on fat as a fuel source, and flight muscle hypertrophy. In mammalian muscle, SLN is a small regulatory protein which binds to sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) and uncouples Ca2+ transport from ATP hydrolysis, increasing energy consumption, heat production, and cytosolic Ca2+ transients that signal for mitochondrial biogenesis, fatigue resistance and a shift to fatty acid oxidation. Using a photoperiod manipulation of captive gray catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), we investigated whether SLN may play a role in coordinating the development of the migratory phenotype. In response to long-day photostimulation, catbirds demonstrated migratory restlessness and significant body fat stores, alongside higher SLN transcription while SERCA2 remained constant. SLN transcription was strongly correlated with h-FABP and PGC1α transcription, as well as fat mass. However, SLN was not significantly correlated with HOAD or CD36 transcripts or measurements of SERCA activity, SR membrane Ca2+ leak, Ca2+ uptake rates, pumping efficiency or mitochondrial biogenesis. Therefore, SLN may be involved in the process of storing fat and shifting to fat as a fuel, but the mechanism of its involvement remains unclear.

You do not currently have access to this content.