Researchers discover genes that protect water bears when they dry out [Life Lines]

Water bears, aka tardigrades, are resilient small creatures. These microscopic animals can survive each freezing and boiling temperatures, radiation, higher pressure, starvation, the vacuum of space and even desiccation. This final capacity caught the focus of a team of researchers interested in how they are in a position to survive for years in spite of being fully dried out, an ability known as anhydrobiosis.

Video by Daiki D. Horikawa, by means of YouTube.

The team discovered particular genes that make proteins to defend the animal’s cells in the course of anhydrobiosis. The proteins designed by these genes are known as tardigrade-particular intrinsically disordered proteins, or TDPs for quick. If these TDP genes are altered, the animals lose the capacity to tolerate dessication. These proteins work by creating a matrix that wraps about their cellular molecules. Carrying out this also slows down their metabolism. Upon rehydration, the proteins melt once more and the cells are free of charge to function typically.


TC Boothby, H Tapia, AH Brozena, S Piszkiewicz, AE Smith, I Giovannini, L Rebecchi, GJ Pielak, D Koshland, B Goldstein. Tardigrades Use Intrinsically Disordered Proteins to Survive Desiccation. Molecular Cell. 65(six): p975–984.e5, 16 March 2017.




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