The tardigrades, a family of species that gather microscopic animals like water bears and mosquito piglets, resort to a class of proteins to survive dehydrated for years.
One of the team members, Thomas Boothby, postdoctoral researcher at the Foundation for Research in Life Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States, and first author of the study, explains that the main factors of This study is that “the tardigrades have developed unique genes that allow them to survive in dehydration . ” “Further, They do not have a fixed three-dimensional structure. After finding the TDP genes expressed at high levels during the drying period in a species of tardigrade, the team examined two other species and found the same genes. One species, which has the genes activated all the time, is able to survive dehydration much more quickly than others. “We think he can do it because he already has many of these proteins and does not need time to make them,” says Boothby. To verify that these TDPs were what gave the tardigrades their unique abilities , the researchers put the genes encoding them into yeasts and bacteria, and confirmed that TDPs protect these other organisms. Trehalose helps other organisms to survive desiccation by forming glass-like solids when they are dried, rather than crystals. Boothby and colleagues found that TDPs form crystalline solids and showed that when TDP glassiness was disrupted, it correlated with a loss of protective capacities. Boothby says TDPs have a number of potential uses, including crop protection against drought and protection of drugs that normally require cold storage. “Being able to stabilize sensitive pharmaceuticals in a dry state is very important to me personally,” he says. “I grew up in Africa, where lack of refrigeration in remote areas is a big problem.