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Main conclusion We have evaluated the endogenous expression and molecular properties of selected Group 3 LEA proteins from Artemia franciscana , and the capacity of selected Groups 1 and 3 proteins transfected into various desiccation-sensitive cell lines to improve tolerance to drying. Organisms inhabiting both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems frequently are confronted with the problem of water loss for multiple reasons—exposure to hypersalinity, evaporative water loss, and restriction of intracellular water due to freezing of extracellular fluids. Seasonal desiccation can become severe and lead to the production of tolerant propagules and entry into the state of anhydrobiosis at various stages of the life cycle. Such is the case for gastrula-stage embryos of the brine shrimp, Artemia franciscana. Physiological and biochemical responses to desiccation are central for survival and are multifaceted. This review will evaluate the impact of multiple late embryogenesis abundant proteins originating from A. franciscana, together with the non-reducing sugar trehalose, on prevention of desiccation damage at multiple levels of biological organization. Survivorship of desiccation-sensitive cells during water stress can be improved by use of the above protective agents, coupled to metabolic preconditioning and rapid cell drying. However, obtaining long-term stability of cells in the dried state at room temperature has not been accomplished and will require continued efforts on both the physicochemical and biological fronts.


Final version: DOI 10.1007/s00425-015-2281-9

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