Gene transcription in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from disparate populations

Polar Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Polar bears in the Beaufort (SB) and Chukchi (CS) Seas experience different environments due primarily to a longer history of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea. Ecological differences have been identified as a possible reason for the generally poorer body condition and reproduction of Beaufort polar bears compared to those from the Chukchi, but the influence of exposure to other stressors remains unknown. We use molecular technology, quantitative PCR, to identify gene transcription differences among polar bears from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as well as captive healthy polar bears. We identified significant transcriptional differences among a priori groups (i.e., captive bears, SB 2012, SB 2013, CS 2013) for ten of the 14 genes of interest (i.e., CaM, HSP70, CCR3, TGFβ, COX2, THRα, T-bet, Gata3, CD69, and IL17); transcription levels of DRβ, IL1β, AHR, and Mx1 did not differ among groups. Multivariate analysis also demonstrated separation among the groups of polar bears. Specifically, we detected transcript profiles consistent with immune function impairment in polar bears from the Beaufort Sea, when compared with Chukchi and captive polar bears. Although there is no strong indication of differential exposure to contaminants or pathogens between CS and SB bears, there are clearly differences in important transcriptional responses between populations. Further investigation is warranted to refine interpretation of potential effects of described stress-related conditions for the SB population.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Gene transcription in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from disparate populations
Series title Polar Biology
DOI 10.1007/s00300-015-1705-0
Volume 38
Issue 9
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Heidelberg, Germany
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 15 p.
First page 1413
Last page 1427
Time Range Start 2011-03-01
Time Range End 2012-12-31
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N