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Trends Plant Sci. 2001 Sep;6(9):431-8.

Mechanisms of plant desiccation tolerance.

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Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences, Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University, Arboretumlaan 4, 6703 BD Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Anhydrobiosis ("life without water") is the remarkable ability of certain organisms to survive almost total dehydration. It requires a coordinated series of events during dehydration that are associated with preventing oxidative damage and maintaining the native structure of macromolecules and membranes. The preferential hydration of macromolecules is essential when there is still bulk water present, but replacement by sugars becomes important upon further drying. Recent advances in our understanding of the mechanism of anhydrobiosis include the downregulation of metabolism, dehydration-induced partitioning of amphiphilic compounds into membranes and immobilization of the cytoplasm in a stable multicomponent glassy matrix.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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