Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 333–337 | Cite as

Freezing and cellular metabolism in the gall fly larva,Eurosta solidaginis

  • Janet M. Storey
  • Kenneth B. Storey


The effects of extracellular freezing on intracellular metabolism were monitored over both a short (9 h) and long (12 weeks) time course using the freeze tolerant larvae of the gall fly,Eurosta solidaginis.

The process of freezing, monitored over the short time course, had no effect upon cellular energy levels (adenylates, arginine phosphate) but initiated a rise in glucose-6-P and lactate levels. This suggests that freezing initiates a shift towards glycolysis as the predominant mode of energy production. The process of thawing at 3°C (after 24 h at −16°C) also had no effect, even transient, on cellular energy levels demonstrating that thawing and the rapid redistribution of water and solutes which must accompany it does not disrupt cellular metabolism. During thawing accumulated lactate was quickly cleared with a t 1/2 of 20–30 min.

Long term freezing at −16°C had dramatic effects on energy metabolism. Freezing for up to 1 week had minimal effects with only a small drop in arginine phosphate reserves and an increase in lactate content noted. Between 1 and 2 weeks of freezing, however, larvae showed strong signs of energy stress. The arginine phosphate pool fell from 75% to 30% of control levels, ATP content dropped by 50% and energy charge dropped to 0.75. This state, with continued lactate accumulation, was maintained through 4 weeks of freezing. Between 6 and 12 weeks of freezing energy stress became even greater. Phosphagen and ATP contents dropped to 5 and 25% of control values and energy charge decreased to about 0.50. Despite this stress, however, 94% of larvae survived 12 weeks of freezing with an 86% hatch rate of adults. The data demonstrate that the larvae can survive prolonged periods of winter freezing drawing upon glycolysis and phosphagen reserves to supply the continued basal energy demands of the cell.


Energy Charge Energy Stress Hatch Rate Lactate Accumulation Intracellular Metabolism 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet M. Storey
    • 1
  • Kenneth B. Storey
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry and Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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