High resistance to oxidative damage in the Antarctic midge Belgica antarctica, and developmentally linked expression of genes encoding superoxide dismutase, catalase and heat shock proteins

Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.42). 09/2008; 38(8):796-804. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2008.05.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Intense ultraviolet radiation, coupled with frequent bouts of freezing–thawing and anoxia, have the potential to generate high levels of oxidative stress in Antarctic organisms. In this study, we examined mechanisms used by the Antarctic midge, Belgica antarctica, to counter oxidative stress. We cloned genes encoding two key antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (Cat), and showed that SOD mRNA was expressed continuously and at very high levels in larvae, but not in adults, while Cat mRNA was expressed in both larvae and adults but at a somewhat reduced level. SOD mRNA was expressed at even higher levels in larvae that were exposed to direct sunlight. Catalase, a small heat shock protein, Hsp70 and Hsp90 mRNAs were also strongly upregulated in response to sunlight. Total antioxidant capacity of the adults was higher than that of the larvae, but levels in both stages of the midge were much higher than observed in a freeze-tolerant, temperate zone insect, the gall fly Eurosta solidaginis. Assays to measure oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation TBARS and carbonyl proteins) demonstrated that the Antarctic midge is highly resistant to oxidative stress.

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Available from: Giancarlo Lopez-Martinez, Jul 28, 2015
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    • "In aquatic organisms, higher environmental temperatures also resulted in similar results where oxidative stress was accompanied by a higher level of lipid peroxidation (An and Choi, 2010). TAC is a tool to assess redox status of all antioxidants existing in an organism (Ghiselli et al., 2000; Martinez et al., 2008; Meng et al., 2009; Yang et al., 2010). In this study, TAC exhibited a significant increase when compared to the control and may be sufficient to deal with oxidative stress and free radical formulation. "
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    • "ROS are products of the normal metabolism of the cell in aerobic organisms necessary at low level for the maintenance of cell homeostasis and cell signaling mechanism, and there is an equilibrium between the generation of ROS and their antioxidant processes (Imalay, 2003). However, when phagocyte cells are over stimulated, the accumulation of ROS can harm important biomolecules like lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins, giving rise to what is known as oxidative stress (Lopez et al., 2008). In order to prevent the harm produced by ROS, organisms have developed an antioxidant mechanism, where the first line of defense against these is through enzymes which directly act in the degradation of ROS (Corona and Robinson, 2006). "
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    • "During the austral summer, short-lived non-feeding adults emerge with a lifespan limited to only 7– 10 days. Compared to the longer-lived larvae, adults fail to express the antioxidant enzyme CuZn-SOD and express less strongly the antioxidant enzyme catalase (Lopez-Martinez et al. 2008). Also, the adult midges do not express either small heat shock proteins (smHsp) or Hsp70 under control conditions , but up-regulate Hsp70 in response to anoxia, a state that poses a stress on the midges. "
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