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In major cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, loss of blood flow causes loss of oxygen (ischemia), leading to tissue damage and cell deaths. A species of ground squirrels from the Arctic can tolerate such ischemic attack, but the underlying biological basis has been unknown. The study from this paper led by Neel Singhal from the Ma lab at CVRI identified an unusual protein variant ATP5G1 from cells of Arctic ground squirrels that contributes to the protection from ischemic stress. This basic science discovery may lay the groundwork to develop potential therapeutic strategies to treat human ischemic disorders.