Encysted embryos (cysts) of the brine shrimp,Artemia, provide excellent opportunities for the study of biochemical and biophysical adaptation to extremes of environmental stress in animals. Among other virtues, this organism is found in a wide variety of hypersaline habitats, ranging from deserts, to tropics, to mountains. One adaptation implicated in the ecological success ofArtemia is p26, a small heat shock protein that previous evidence indicates plays the role of a molecular chaperone in these embryos. We add to that evidence here. We summarize recently published work on thermal tolerance and stress protein levels in embryos from the San Francisco Bay (SFB) of California inoculated into experimental ponds in southern Vietnam where water temperatures are much higher. New results on the relative contents of three stress proteins (hsp70, artemin and p26) will be presented along with data on cysts of A.tibetiana collected from the high plateau of Tibet about 4.5 km above sea level. Unpublished results on the stress protein artemin are discussed briefly in the context of this paper, and its potential role as an RNA chaperone. Interestingly, we show that the substantial tolerance ofA. franciscana embryos to ultraviolet (UV) light does not seem to result from intracellular biochemistry but, rather, from their surrounding thick shell, a biophysical adaptation of considerable importance since these embryos receive heavy doses of UV in nature.
Volume 47, 2022
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