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The C. elegans dauer larva as a paradigm to study metabolic suppression and desiccation tolerance.

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Erkut,  Cihan
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kurzchalia,  Teymuras V.
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Erkut, C., & Kurzchalia, T. V. (2015). The C. elegans dauer larva as a paradigm to study metabolic suppression and desiccation tolerance. Planta, 242(2), 389-396.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-04D5-A
Abstract
The hypometabolic, stress-resistant dauer larva of Caenorhabditis elegans serves as an excellent model to study the molecular mechanisms of desiccation tolerance, such as maintenance of membrane organization, protein folding, xenobiotic and ROS detoxification in the dry state. Many organisms from diverse taxa of life have the remarkable ability to survive extreme desiccation in the nature by entering an ametabolic state known as anhydrobiosis (life without water). The hallmark of the anhydrobiotic state is the achievement and maintenance of an exceedingly low metabolic rate, as well as preservation of the structural integrity of the cell. Although described more than three centuries ago, the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are still not fully comprehended. This is mainly due to the fact that anhydrobiosis in animals was studied using non-model organisms, which are very difficult, if not impossible, to manipulate at the molecular level. Recently, we introduced the roundworm (nematode) Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for anhydrobiosis. Taking advantage of powerful genetic, biochemical and biophysical tools, we investigated several aspects of anhydrobiosis in a particular developmental stage (the dauer larva) of this organism. First, our studies allowed confirming the previously suggested role of the disaccharide trehalose in the preservation of lipid membranes. Moreover, in addition to known pathways such as reactive oxygen species defense, heat-shock and intrinsically disordered protein expression, evidence for some novel strategies of anhydrobiosis has been obtained. These are increased glyoxalase activity, polyamine and polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis. All these pathways may constitute a generic toolbox of anhydrobiosis, which is possibly conserved between animals and plants.