Cryoprotective Dehydration: Clues from an Insect
Arthropods have evolved a number of different adaptations to survive extreme environmental temperatures including, in some regions, over-wintering temperatures well below 0°C. One of the less common adaptations to surviving cold is that of cryoprotective dehydration, where the animal becomes almost anhydrobiotic with the loss of virtually all osmotically active water. In this chapter, we describe integrated studies utilising physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology to understand this phenomenon in the Arctic springtail (Megaphorura arctica) (formerly Onychiurus arcticus). These studies concentrate on the action of trehalose as a cryoprotectant, the production of antioxidants to reduce cell damage and changes in membrane composition.
KeywordsCold Hardiness Liquid Crystalline State Phospholipid Fatty Acid Composition Trehalose Synthesis Trehalose Concentration
This paper was produced within the BAS GSAC BIOREACH/BIOFLAME core programmes and also contributes to the SCAR EBA programme. JP was sponsored by the EU Sleeping Beauty Consortium: Specific Targeted Research Project, Contract no 012674 (NEST). JP and GG-L are also funded by the MSTD grant 143034, awarded by the Republic of Serbia. The authors would like to thank NERC for access to the NERC Arctic Research Station (Harland Huset) at Ny-Ålesund and Nick Cox, the Arctic base commander. We would also like to thank Pete Convey for critical reading of the manuscript and Barbara Worland and Guy Hillyard for their help with animal collection in the 2007 and 2008 field seasons respectively and Zeljko Popovic for his help with the Q-PCR.
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