Lea protein expression during cold-induced dehydration in the Arctic Collembola Megaphorura arctica
The Arctic springtail Megaphorura arctica (Tullberg, 1876) employs a strategy known as cryoprotective dehydration to survive winter temperatures as low as -25 degrees C. During cryoprotective dehydration, water is lost from the animal to ice in its surroundings as a result of the difference in vapour pressure between the animal's supercooled body fluids and ice (Worland et al., 1998; Holmstrup and Somme, 1998). This mechanism ensures that as the habitat temperature falls, the concentration of solutes remains high enough to prevent freezing (Holmstrup et al., 2002). In M. arctica, accumulation of trehalose, a cryo/anhydro protectant, occurs in parallel with dehydration. Recent studies have identified a number of genes and cellular processes involved in cryoprotective dehydration in M. arctica (Clark et al., 2007; Clark et al., 2009; Purac et al., 2011). One of them includes late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins. This study, together with that of Bahrndorff et al. (2008), suggests that LEA proteins may be involved in protective dehydration in this species.