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J Insect Physiol. 2001 Apr;47(4-5):393-400.

Cold tolerance and proline metabolic gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Biology, Queen's University, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Kingston, Canada


Treatment of Drosophila melanogaster adults with an inhibitor of protein synthesis led to a decrease in intrinsic cold-shock tolerance, but no difference in the rapid cold hardening response, which is apparent only if a period at 4 degrees C precedes the cold stress. Increases in energy reserves, including proline, were found in lines of flies selected for resistance to chilling injury. Since an increase in proline levels has been associated with overwintering in insects, and for salt and cold tolerance in plants, an RNase protection assay was developed to assess changes in transcript abundance for two genes encoding enzymes important for proline metabolism, pyrroline 5-carboxylate reductase and proline oxidase. The mRNA levels did not change in response to low temperature, but the high level of pyrroline 5-carboxylate reductase transcript is consistent with the interpretation that a large proline pool is important for Drosophila metabolism and survival during cold stress.

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