Comparing Enchytraeus albidus populations from contrasting climatic environments suggest a link between cold tolerance and metabolic activity

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  • Anamarija Zagar, Natl Inst Biol, National Institute of Biology - Slovenia, Dept Organisms & Ecosyst Res, Univ Porto, Universidade do Porto, InBIO, CIBIO Res Ctr Biodivers & Genet Resources
  • ,
  • Martin Holmstrup
  • Tatjana Simcic, Natl Inst Biol, National Institute of Biology - Slovenia, Dept Organisms & Ecosyst Res
  • ,
  • Barabara Debeljak, Natl Inst Biol, National Institute of Biology - Slovenia, Dept Organisms & Ecosyst Res
  • ,
  • Stine Slotsbo

Basal metabolic activity and freezing of body fluids create reactive oxygen species (ROS) in freeze-tolerant organisms. These sources of ROS can have an additive negative effect via oxidative stress. In cells, antioxidant systems are responsible for removing ROS in order to avoid damage due to oxidative stress. Relatively little is known about the importance of metabolic rate for the survival of freezing, despite a good understanding of several cold tolerance related physiological mechanisms. We hypothesized that low basal metabolism would be selected for in freeze-tolerant organisms where winter survival is important for fitness for two reasons. First, avoidance of the additive effect of ROS production from metabolism and freezing, and second, as an energy saving mechanism under extended periods of freezing where the animal is metabolically active, but unable to feed. We used the terrestrial oligochaete, Enchytraeus albidus, which is widely distributed from Spain to the high Arctic and compared eight populations originating across a broad geographical and climatic gradient after they had been cold acclimated at 5 degrees C in a common garden experiment. Cold tolerance (lower lethal temperature: LT50) and the potential metabolic activity (PMA, an estimator of the maximal enzymatic potential of the mitochondria) respiration chain) of eight populations were positively correlated amongst each other and correlated negatively with latitude and positively with average yearly temperature and the average temperature of the coldest month. These results indicate that low PMA in cold tolerant populations is important for survival in extremely cold environments.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftComparative Biochemistry and Physiology A-Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Vol/bind224
Sider (fra-til)35-41
Antal sider7
ISSN1095-6433
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2018

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