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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45682. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045682. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Comparative proteome analysis of Milnesium tardigradum in early embryonic state versus adults in active and anhydrobiotic state.

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Functional Proteome Analysis, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.


Tardigrades have fascinated researchers for more than 300 years because of their extraordinary capability to undergo cryptobiosis and survive extreme environmental conditions. However, the survival mechanisms of tardigrades are still poorly understood mainly due to the absence of detailed knowledge about the proteome and genome of these organisms. Our study was intended to provide a basis for the functional characterization of expressed proteins in different states of tardigrades. High-throughput, high-accuracy proteomics in combination with a newly developed tardigrade specific protein database resulted in the identification of more than 3000 proteins in three different states: early embryonic state and adult animals in active and anhydrobiotic state. This comprehensive proteome resource includes protein families such as chaperones, antioxidants, ribosomal proteins, cytoskeletal proteins, transporters, protein channels, nutrient reservoirs, and developmental proteins. A comparative analysis of protein families in the different states was performed by calculating the exponentially modified protein abundance index which classifies proteins in major and minor components. This is the first step to analyzing the proteins involved in early embryonic development, and furthermore proteins which might play an important role in the transition into the anhydrobiotic state.

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