Circadian transcription factor HSF1 regulates differential HSP70 gene transcription during the arousal-torpor cycle in mammalian hibernation

Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 29;9(1):832. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37022-7.


Mammalian hibernation is a seasonal phenomenon. The hibernation season consists of torpor periods with a reduced body temperature (Tb), interrupted by euthermic arousal periods (interbout arousal, IBA). The physiological changes associated with hibernation are assumed to be under genetic control. However, the molecular mechanisms that govern hibernation-associated gene regulation are still unclear. We found that HSP70 transcription is upregulated in the liver of nonhibernating (summer-active) chipmunks compared with hibernating (winter-torpid) ones. In parallel, HSF1, the major transcription factor for HSP70 expression, is abundant in the liver-cell nuclei of nonhibernating chipmunks, and disappears from the nuclei of hibernating ones. Moreover, during IBA, HSF1 reappears in the nuclei and drives HSP70 transcription. In mouse liver, HSF1 is regulated by the daily Tb rhythm, and acts as a circadian transcription factor. Taken together, chipmunks similarly use the Tb rhythm to regulate gene expression via HSF1 during the torpor-arousal cycle in the hibernation season.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hibernation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sciuridae
  • Seasons
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors