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Mol Cell Biochem February 17, 2021;

Insights from a vertebrate model organism on the molecular mechanisms of whole-body dehydration tolerance.

Luu BE , Hawkins LJ , Storey KB .

Studies on the molecular mechanisms of dehydration tolerance have been largely limited to plants and invertebrates. Currently, research in whole body dehydration of complex animals is limited to cognitive and behavioral effects in humans, leaving the molecular mechanisms of vertebrate dehydration relatively unexplored. The present review summarizes studies to date on the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) and examines whole-body dehydration on physiological, cellular and molecular levels. This aquatic frog is exposed to seasonal droughts in its native habitat and can endure a loss of over 30% of its total body water. When coping with dehydration, osmoregulatory processes prioritize water retention in skeletal tissues and vital organs over plasma volume. Although systemic blood circulation is maintained in the vital organs and even elevated in the brain during dehydration, it is done so at the expense of reduced circulation to the skeletal muscles. Increased hemoglobin affinity for oxygen helps to counteract impaired blood circulation and metabolic enzymes show altered kinetic and regulatory parameters that support the use of anaerobic glycolysis. Recent studies with X. laevis also show that pro-survival pathways such as antioxidant defenses and heat shock proteins are activated in an organ-specific manner during dehydration. These pathways are tightly coordinated at the post-transcriptional level by non-coding RNAs, and at the post-translational level by reversible protein phosphorylation. Paired with ongoing research on the X. laevis genome, the African clawed frog is poised to be an ideal animal model with which to investigate the molecular adaptations for dehydration tolerance much more deeply.

PubMed ID: 33595794
Article link: Mol Cell Biochem
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
GO keywords: metabolic process

References [+] :
Ali, Isolation and characterization of a cDNA encoding a Xenopus 70-kDa heat shock cognate protein, Hsc70.I. 1996, Pubmed, Xenbase