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J Insect Physiol. 2006 Oct;52(10):1073-82. Epub 2006 Aug 18.

Oleic acid is elevated in cell membranes during rapid cold-hardening and pupal diapause in the flesh fly, Sarcophaga crassipalpis.

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Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1242, USA.


The integrity of cellular membranes is critical to the survival of insects at low temperatures, thus an advantage is conferred to insects that can adjust their composition of membrane fatty acids (FAs). Such changes contribute to homeoviscous adaption, a process that allows cellular membranes to maintain a liquid-crystalline state at temperatures that are potentially low enough to cause the membrane to enter the gel state and thereby lose its ability to maintain homeostasis. Flesh flies (Sarcophaga crassipalpis) were subjected to two experimental conditions that elicit low temperature tolerance: rapid cold-hardening and diapause. FAs were isolated and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. FAs changed in response to both rapid cold-hardening and diapause. In response to rapid cold-hardening (8 h at 4 degrees C), the proportion of oleic acid (18:1n-9) in pharate adults increased from 30% to 47% of the total FA pool. The proportion of almost every other FA was reduced. By entering diapause, pupae experienced an even greater increase in oleic acid proportion, to 58% of the total FA pool. Oleic acid not only promotes membrane fluidity at low temperature but also allows the cell membrane to maintain a liquid crystalline state if temperatures increase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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