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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 6;8(6):e64793. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064793. Print 2013.

Analysis of DNA repair and protection in the Tardigrade Ramazzottius varieornatus and Hypsibius dujardini after exposure to UVC radiation.

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1
Biospheric Science Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, United States of America. horikawadd@gmail.com

Abstract

Tardigrades inhabiting terrestrial environments exhibit extraordinary resistance to ionizing radiation and UV radiation although little is known about the mechanisms underlying the resistance. We found that the terrestrial tardigrade Ramazzottius varieornatus is able to tolerate massive doses of UVC irradiation by both being protected from forming UVC-induced thymine dimers in DNA in a desiccated, anhydrobiotic state as well as repairing the dimers that do form in the hydrated animals. In R. varieornatus accumulation of thymine dimers in DNA induced by irradiation with 2.5 kJ/m(2) of UVC radiation disappeared 18 h after the exposure when the animals were exposed to fluorescent light but not in the dark. Much higher UV radiation tolerance was observed in desiccated anhydrobiotic R. varieornatus compared to hydrated specimens of this species. On the other hand, the freshwater tardigrade species Hypsibius dujardini that was used as control, showed much weaker tolerance to UVC radiation than R. varieornatus, and it did not contain a putative phrA gene sequence. The anhydrobiotes of R. varieornatus accumulated much less UVC-induced thymine dimers in DNA than hydrated one. It suggests that anhydrobiosis efficiently avoids DNA damage accumulation in R. varieornatus and confers better UV radiation tolerance on this species. Thus we propose that UV radiation tolerance in tardigrades is due to the both high capacities of DNA damage repair and DNA protection, a two-pronged survival strategy.

PMID:
23762256
PMCID:
PMC3675078
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0064793
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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